Skip to main content

Full text of "Collections of the Minnesota Historical Society"

See other formats


3 1833 01715 9325 


or THE 


i/, 10 j ft, 


R . 2 


February, 1905. 


Printed by 
Western Printing Company 
Minneapolis. Minn. 





Groseh.uers and Radisson, the First White Men ix Minnesota. 
J y 1655-56, and 1659-60. and Their Discovery of the Upper Mis- 

- y sissippi River, by the Secretary. Warren UphaM 440-594 

Publication of Radisson's manuscripts 449 

«s Biographic sketches of Groseilliers and Radisson 450 

Peculiarities of Radisson's writings 453 

\\ Agreements and discrepancies with other records 455 

*v Chronology of the four expeditions 456 

^ Narrative of the first western expedition 458 

V) The year 1655-56 at Prairie island 462 

\J Agriculture of the Indians 467 

Public council in the spring of 1656 470 

<i The return to Quebec 473 

- J. Account in the Jesuit Relation of 1655-56 471 

1 Radisson's excursions in the summer of 1655 477 

- Narrative of the second western expedition 47.) 

V^J ~* Fort at Chequamegon bay 484 

Starvation in winter 487 

Dealings with the Sioux and the Crees 40-' 

Fictitious journey to Hudson hay 508 

The return to Montreal and Three Rivers 51 -I 

Accounts in the Jesuit Relation and Journal 517 

Observations of the Indian tribes 51Q 

Iroquois 520 

Hurons : 522 

Ottawas 526 

Winnebagoes 528 

O j ibways 52* 

Sioux 53° 

Glees 535 

Progress of Discovery 01 the Mississippi river .. fjfl 

Vespucci, 14QS 540 

Pineda, 15 19 5-W 

Narvaez, 1528 544 

De Soto, 1541-42 545 

Groseilliers and Radisson. 1055(0 SS> 

Juliet and Marquette. i(»7j 553 

Hennepin and Duluth, e68q 551 



La Salle, 1682 55 6 

Lc Sueur, 1683- 1700 558 

History of Prairie island 501 

Services of Groseilliers and Radisson for the Hudson Bay Com- 
pany 563 

To Whom belongs the Honor of Discovery of the Upper Mis- 
sissippi River and Minnesota ? 564 

Chronologic Summary 565 

Bibliography " 568 

Conclusion 594 

A Sioux Narrative of the Outbreak in 1862, and of Sibley's 

Expedition in 1863, by Gabriel Renville 595-618 

The outbreak at the Yellow Medicine Agency 596 

Efforts to aid the white captives 59g 

Battle of Birch Coolie 6oj 

Council addressed by Little Paul and Little Crow 603 

Battle of Wood Lake 606 

Rescue of the captives 608 

Trial and execution of Indian prisoners 60S 

Sioux camp at Fort Sneiling 610 

Friendly Indians appointed as scouts 611 

Beginning of Sibley's expedition, 1S63 612 

Indian scouts in this expedition 613 

First meeting with the hostile Sioux 613 

Biographic Sketch of Chief Gabriel Renville, by Samuel J. 

Brown 614 

The Work of the Second State Legislature. 1859-60. by the 
President, Gen. John B. Sanborn 619-633 

The Old Government Mills at the Falls of St. Anthony, by 
Edward A. Bromley 635-64;* 

Lumbering and Steamboatixg on the St. Croix River, by Captain- 
Edward W. DURANT 645-675 

The river and its tributaries '4" 

First steps in development of the lumber industry 

The early sawmills 649 

The later mills and their production 

Stillwater mills 655 

St. Louis mills 657 

Pioneer lumbermen 6 S 3 

Large buyers of St. Croix logs 659 

Rafting logs and lumber 663 



Pilots 666 


Steamboat building 070 

The giant St. Croix boom 672 

Scenery of the St. Croix lake and river 672 

Statistics 673 

Minnesota's Eastern, Southern and Western Boundaries, by 
Alexander N. Winchell 677-6^7 

Memorial Addresses in Honor of Bishop Henry Benjamin 
WiiTrrLE. at the Monthly Council Meeting of the Min- 
nesota Historical Society, in the State Capitol. St. Paul. 
Minn., Monday Evening, October 14. 1901 689-720 

The Work of Bishop Whipple in Missions for the Indians. 
by Hon. Charles E. Flandrau 691 

Bishop Whipple and the Schools at Faribault, by Rev. 
George C. Tanner 697 

Bishop Whipple as a Citizen of Minnesota, by Hon. Green- 
leaf Clark 708 

Bishop Whipple as a Mediator for the Rights of the Indians 
in Treaties, by Gen. John B. Sanborn 713 

The Work of Bishop Whipple for the Episcopal Church, by 
Rev. William C. Pope 716 

Memorial Addresses in Honor of Governor Alexander Ramsey, 
at Meetings of the Minnesota Historical Society, in the 
State Capitol, St. Paul, Minn., September 3 and 14, 1003. .. .721-766 

Alexander Ramsey, a Memorial Eulogy, September 3. 1003, 

by Gen. James H. Baker 733-743 

Memorial Addresses. Presented September 14, 1003 74 

By Hon. Greenleaf Clark ~4 ' 

Resolutions adopted 747 

By Ex-Governor Lucius F. Hubbard 74^ 

By Ex-Governor Andrew R. McGili 

By Governor Van Sant 75 1 

By Archbishop Ireland 75 1 

By Hon. F. C. Stevens 755 

By Mr. Henry S. Fairchild 75$ 

By Mr. A. L. Larpenteur 760 

By Mrs. Vinnie Ream Hoxie 

By Gen. James H. Baker 762 

By the Secretary, Mr. Warren Uphaffl 



Memorial Addresses in Honor of Judge Charles E. Flandrau, 
at the Monthly Council Meeting of the Minnesota Histor- 
ical Society, in the State Capitol, St. Paul. Minn.. Mon- 
day Evening, November g. [903 767-83;) 

Introductory Address,, by the President, Gen. John E. San- 
born 769 

The Life and influence of Judge Flandrau, by Hon. Green- 
leaf Clark 771 

Judge Flandrau in the Defense of New Ulm during the 

Sioux Outbreak of 1862, by Major Salmon A. Buell 783 

First news of the outbreak 784 

Organization of volunteers for defense 785 

The first attack at New Ulm 780 

Flandrau as commander and his staff 780 

New Ulm as a strategic point 791 

Scouting expedition ". 791 

Beginning of the battle on Saturday 793 

Number of the Sioux engaged in the attack 796 

Later part of the battle 797 

Instance^ of bravery 801 

A night of anxiety 893 

The battle continued on Sunday 805 

Arrival of reinforcements 807 

Care of the sick and wounded 80S 

Evacuation of New Ulm 800 

Comparison of the battles of this Indian war 8u 

Advantages gained by the defense of New Ulm 816 

Judge Flandrau as a Citizen and Jurist, by William II. 

Lightner 819 

Address by Hon. Joseph A. Eckstein, City Attorney of New 

Ulm 8jg 

Memorial Addresses in Honor of General John P.. Sanborn, 
at the Monthly Council Meeting <>f the Minnesota His- 
torical Society, in the State Capitol, St. Pai l. Minn.. 
Monday Evening. October 10. 1004 831-8; 

Introductory Address, by THE Pkesident. Hon. Greenleaf 

Clark 8j3 

The Life and Work of GENERAL Sanborn, by Gen. Henry 

W. Child* 8j8 

William Holcome, by Mrs. Andrew E Ku.patrick ..85J ft 

Moses Sherruknf, by SlMEON MlLLS Hants 




Deceased Members of this Society. 1001-1904 867-876 

George Loomis Becker 807 

Douglas Brymner 867 

Richard C Burdick 867 

James Henry Dunn 868 

John Fiske 868 

Charles Eugene Flandrau 868 

Alpheus G. Fuller 868 

Charles Duncan Gilfillan * . S6g 

Julius M. Goldsmith 863 

William Henry- Grant 869 

Joseph Jackson Howard 86; 

Richard Marvin 870 

Henry Lawrence Moss 870 

Peter Neff 870 

Renssnlaer Russell Nelson 870 

Theodore Sutton Parvin 871 

Frank Hutchinson Peavey 871 

Emerson William Peet 871 

John Sargent Piilsbury 871 

Pennock Pusey 872 

Alexander Ramsey 872 

Lathrop Edward Reed 873 

Daniel Rohrer 873 

Dwight May Sabin 873 

John Benjamin Sanborn 873 

Frank Bailey Semple 874 

John B. Spencer 874 

Benjamin Franklin Stevens 874 

Hiram Fairchild Stevens 874 

John Summers 875 

Robert Ormsby Sweeney 875 

Joseph Farrand Tuttle 875 

Henry Benjamin Whipple 875 

Eli Trumbull Wilder 876 

Henry L. Williams S76 

Index of Authors and Principal Subjects of Volumes I-X. . . .S77 

Personal Index of Volumes MX 892-914 

Index of Volume X 9tS*9J0 


Plate XIII. Map Showing the Routes of Groscilliers and Radisson. 

and the Progress of Discovery of the Mississippi 

River 440 

XIV. The Old Government Mills at the Falls of St. Anthony. . 635 

XV. Portrait of Captain Edward \Y. Durant 645 

XVI. Portrait of Bishop Henry B. Whipple 688 

XVII. Portrait of Governor Alexander Ramsey 721 

XVIII. Portrait of Gen. James H. Baker 745 

XIX. Portrait of Judge Charles E. Flandrau 

XX. Portrait of Major Salmon A. Buell 7 V 

XXI. Portrait of Gen. John B. Sanborn S31 

XXII. Portrait of Lieut. Gov. William Holcombc $57 

XXIII. Portrait of Judge Moses Sherburne Sr v 

Minnesota Historical Society 

Vol. X. 


OF THE Mississippi Kl\ EH 

MEN IN MINNESOTA, 1655-56, AND 1659-60. AND 


Publication of Radisson's Manuscripts. 

The narratives of the earliest travels and exploration by 
Europeans within the area that is now Minnesota, written by 
one of the two hardy adventurers whose experiences are there 
chronicled, remained unknown to historians during more than 
two hundred years. This precious manuscript record, beginning 
the history of the occupation of our state by white men. is said 
by its editor, Gideon D. Scull, of London, to have been "for some 
time the property of Samuel Pepys, the well-known diarist, and 
Secretary of the Admiralty to Charles II and James II. He 
probably received it," as the editor further states, '"from Sit 
George Cartaret, the Vice-Chamberlain of the King and Treasur- 
er of the Navy, for whom it was no doubt carefully copied out 
from his rough notes by the author, so that it might, through him, 
be brought under the notice of Charles II. Some years after the 
death of Pepys. in 1703. his collection of manuscripts was dis- 
persed and fell into the hands of various London tradesmen, who 
bought parcels of it to use in their shops as waste-paper. 1 he 
most valuable portions were carefully reclaimed by the celebrated 
collector, Richard Rawlinson." The papers relating the expedi- 
tions of Groseilliers and Radisson to the upper Laureiman lakes 
and the upper Mississippi river came into the possession of the 

•Read at the Annual Meeting of the KllinetoU ' J««m lfc 

and the monthly neeting* of the Executive Council, MM »■ U Nu% »" v * 
March 10 and October 13. 1902 



Bodleian Library, at Oxford University ; and other manuscripts, 
relating their service later for the Hudson Bay Company, were 
purchased by the British Museum. 

In these two largest libraries of England, the quaint narra- 
tives of Radisson rested in quiet until less than twenty years ago 
they were published by the Prince Society of Boston, which is 
devoted to the preservation and publication of rare original docu- 
ments relating to early American history. The title-page reads 
as follows: "Voyages of Peter Esprit Radisson. being an Ac- 
count of his Travels and Experiences among the North American 
Indians, from 1652 to 1684. Transcribed from original Manu- 
scripts in the Bodleian Library and the British Museum. With 
Historical Illustrations and an Introduction, by Gideon D. Scull, 
London, England. Boston : Published by the Prince Society, 
1885." It is a small quarto book of 385 pages. The edition was 
limited to two hundred and fifty copies, one of which is in the 
Library of this Historical Society, and another in the Duluth 
Public Library. 

By this book Groseilliers and Radisson are made known to 
the world as the first Europeans to reach the upper Mississippi 
and to traverse parts of Minnesota. It is a source of much re- 
gret, however, that Radisson is found to claim more discoveries 
than can be true. His narration, besides being very uncouth in 
style, is exceedingly deficient in dates, sometimes negligent as 
to the sequence of events, and even here and there discordant 
and demonstrably untruthful. Therefore much discussion has 
arisen concerning its significance and historical value. 

Biographic Sketches of Groseilliers and Radisson. 

Previous to this publication, history had a general outline 
of the achievements of these remarkable men. who wore brothers- 
in-law, close friends, and lifelong companions in various enter- 
prises demanding great courage and endurance. 

Medard Chouart, more commonly known by Ins assumed title 
Sieur des Groseilliers,* was born in France, probably near Meaux. 
in 1 62 1. At the age of twenty years, or perhaps three or tour 
years earlier, he came to Canada. During several years, until 

•See the remarks of Dr. Douglas Ilrymuor on this BUM, «• quote I in th« Bibliog- 
raphy near tho cn<l of this paper 



1646, he was in the service of the Jesuits as a layman helper in 
their missions to the Indians, and thus learned the Huron and 
Algonquin languages. Afterward he was a fur trader, probably 
making yearly trips to the country of the Hurons. In 1647 ne 
married Helene, a daughter of Abraham Martin, from whom the 
historic Plains of Abraham at Quebec received their name. His 
wife died in 165 1, and two years later he married Marguerite, a 
sister of Radisson. Thenceforward these brothers-in-law were 
closely associated in important explorations and extension of 
trade with the Indians of the Northwest and the region of Hud- 
son bay. 

Pierre Esprit Radisson was also born in France, probably 
at St. Malo, a seaport of Brittany. In 165 1, at the age of only 
fifteen or sixteen years, he came to Canada, and lived with his 
parents at Three Rivers. Previously he had seen Paris, London, 
Italy, and Turkey, being probably a sailor. In England and 
from English sailors he may have acquired our language in boy- 
hood, which he afterward wrote with such facility of colloquial 
and idiomatic expression, in the narratives published by the 
Prince Society. 

The next year after his arrival in Canada, Radisson was 
captured by a roving band of the Iroquois, with whom he lived 
about a year in their country, on the Mohawk river. Escaping 
to Fort Orange (now Albany), he reached New Amsterdam 
(now New York), and sailed to Holland and thence to Rochelle. 
France. In the spring of 1654 he returned to Three Rivers in 
Canada. This captivity is the first of the four "voyages" of Rad- 
isson narrated in the published volume. 

During the next six years, from 1654 to 1660, Groseillier? 
and Radisson made two expeditions for exploration and traffic 
in furs, going farther westward than any white man preceding 
them. In these expeditions, called voyages by Radisson, they 
passed beyond the upper great lakes, Michigan and Superior, 
penetrating to the area of Minnesota; and the narration asserts 
that in the second expedition they traveled to Huda tl 

When they returned from the second western expedition, 
which had been undertaken without permission from the God 
ernor of Canada, he imposed heavy tines upon them, and a dutv 
of 25 per cent, on the value of their furs, together amounting. 



says Radisson, to 24,000 pounds.* To seek redress for this injus- 
tice, Groseilliers went to France, but his appeal was in vain. Thev 
next entered the service of Boston merchants, and sailed in a Xew 
England ship to Hudson strait in the autumn of 1663 ; but, cn ac- 
count of the lateness of the season, the captain refused to advance 
into Hudson bay, where they designed to establish trading posts. 

In 1665, having laid their plans for trade in the Hudson Bay 
region before commissioners of the King of Great Britain, whom 
he had sent to Xew York and New England, Groseilliers and 
Radisson went with one of these commissioners. Sir George 
Cartwright, to England. Under the patronage of Charles II, 
they aided in founding the Hudson Bay Company, which re- 
ceived its charter in 1670. The commercial power which they 
would have preferred to bestow on their own country was thus 
given to Great Britain. 

Radisson about this time married an English wife, the 
daughter of John Kirke, who became one of the directors of this 

In 1674, because of a dispute with the Hudson Bay Com- 
pany, Groseilliers and Radisson transferred their allegiance again 
to France, and through the next ten years were active in advanc- 
ing French colonization and commerce. In their renewed loyalty, 
they endeavored to supplant the English in the Hudson Bay 
trade by building a French trading post on the Xelson river, near 
its mouth, and there captured a Xew England ship. 

During the consequent negotiations, however, between the 
French and English governments, Groseilliers and Radisson con- 
sidered themselves unjustly treated by the French court; and, 
being welcomed back by the directors of the Hudson Bay Com- 
pany, Radisson once more entered their service. According to 
his own words, he then, in May. 16S4. "passed over to England 
for good, and of engaging myself so strongly to the sen ice oi ttiJ 
Majesty, and to the interests of the Nation, that any other con- 
sideration was never able to detach me from it." 

Groseilliers, on the contrary, declined to accept the >al.u\ 
or pension offered to him by the Hudson Day Company, "twenty 
shillings per week, if lie came from France over to Britain 
and be true." Here the brothers-in-law were separated, after 

•This was probably mennt by RftdiMOO for M many llvn-n. or only about l.QOO 
pouuaa, m expl*lueil la tue liter |mrt of this p*p«r whur< ' 



thirty years of most intimate association. Nothing- further is 
known of Groseilliers. and it seems probable that he died not 
Ions: afterward in Canada. 

The life of Radisson after this second desertion from France 
has been recently traced by Prof. George Bryce, through his re- 
searches in the archives of the Hudson Bay Company in London. 
Having sailed from England in May, 1684, Radisson traitorously 
took possession of the chief French trading post of Hudson bay, 
on the Hayes river, compelling his nephew, the son of Groseil- 
liers, to surrender the post, which was under his command, with 
a vast quantity (twenty thousand) of valuable peltries that had 
been collected there. These furs were sold in England for 7,000 
pounds. Radisson voyaged later, in 1685. an d also in 16S7 and 
1688, to Hudson bay for this company, and he received a pension 
from it, affording a scanty means of living for himself and his 
family, until the beginning of the year 17 10. As the pension then 
ceased, it is inferred that he died, probably in London or its vi- 
cinity, before the next quarterly date for payment, his age being 
seventy-four years. 

Peculiarities of Radisson's Writings. 

The editor states in his introduction to Radisson's narratives : 
"All his manuscripts have been handed down in perfect preser- 
vation. They are written out in a clear and excellent handwrit- 
ing, showing the writer to have been a person of good education." 

The president of the Prince Society, in his preface of the 
same volume, says : "The narratives contained in it are the rec- 
ord of events and transactions in which the author was a principal 
actor. They were apparently written without any intention of 
publication, and are plainly authentic and trustworthy .... 
The author was a native of France, and had an imperfect knowl- 
edge of the English language. The journals, with the exception 
of the last in the volume, are, however, written in that language, 
and, as might be anticipated, in orthography, in the use of words, 
and in the structure of sentences, conform to no known standard 
of English composition. But the meaning is in all easel dMffy 
conveyed, and, in justice both to the author and reader, thev haft 
been printed verbatim et literatim, as in the original manuscripts." 



By extracts given further on, describing the two expedi- 
tions to Minnesota, the style of Radisson's writing will be well 
shown. Many parts of the narration where we should wish quite 
complete statement are given very briefly or omitted entirely. 
Other parts, on the contrary, have a fullness of garrulous detail 
which brings to view very vividly the many adventures, hard- 
ships and dangers encountered among the savages, with frequent 
descriptions of their manner of life in the wigwam, in their rude 
agriculture, in the hunt, on the war path, and in councils of public 
deliberation. The details are everywhere consistent with the now 
well known characteristics of these Indian tribes, and they thus 
bear decisive testimony that the narrator had actual experience 
by living long among them. 

Radisson had a very thorough familiarity with homely, apt 
and forcible expressions of our English language, such as could 
only have been acquired by living with English-speaking people, 
certainly not merely from school studies or books. It is prob- 
able, as before stated, that he had learned this language before 
going to Canada; but later, by his life in New England and in 
the service of Boston merchants during the years from 1661 to 
1664, he had doubtless added greatly to his acquaintance with the 

The narratives of the four land expeditions, which are called 
by Radisson "voyages," appear to have been written in 1665, with 
a slight addition three years later, their purpose being to promote 
the interests of the two adventurers when first seeking alliance 
with the English for establishing trade with Hudson bay. The 
writer took especial care to show the great prospective commer- 
cial advantages of opening the fur trade with new regions at the 
north, and of gaining possession by colonies in the vast fertile 
country of lake Michigan and the upper Mississippi region. 

That the routes and localities of the farthest western explo- 
rations by Groseilliers and Radisson, and of their councils with 
the Indians to establish the fur trade in the area of Minnesota, 
have not been earlier fully studied out and ascertained, is (kftlbt- 
less attributable mainly to deficiencies of Radissons narrative: 
but also must in part be ascribed to the limitation of their publi- 
cation, in an edition of two hundred and fifty copies, of w\ 
only two are in Minnesota. Only three Of tour student s of his- 


tory in this state have made careful examination of this book ; and 
these studies, with those of other historians in Wisconsin and 
elsewhere, have gradually brought us to the results stated in the 
present paper. Very recently an essential clue for identification 
of the locality of greatest interest in the second of these expedi- 
tions to Minnesota has been supplied by Hon. J. V. Brower, who 
finds that Knife lake and river, in Kanabec county, were so named 
because there the Sioux of the Mille Lacs region first obtained 
iron and steel knives from white men, thence also receiving them- 
selves the name of Isanti or Knife Sioux, by which they were 
known to Du Luth and Hennepin. 

Agreements and Discrepancies with Other Records. 

The two western expeditions are paralleled by the Jesuit 
Relations, which were yearly reports of the progress of mission- 
ary work, including also many incidental references to other 
Canadian history. Another contemporary record, the Journal t f 
the Jesuits for the year 1660, contains a very interesting detailed 
statement of the return of these travelers and traders from their 
second trip west, accompanied by three hundred Indians, and 
bringing a rich freight of furs. The Relations for 1660 mention 
two Frenchmen returning at this time, with similar details of their 
expedition, as the return of two Frenchmen was also noted by 
the Relations for 1656; but in both instances they refrain from 
giving the names of these daring and successful explorers. In 
the Journal we are informed that Groseilliers was one of the two 
returning from the second of these expeditions. 

Henry Colin Campbell, of Wisconsin, who has very care- 
fully studied the chronology of this subject, writes: "Taking all 
the circumstances into consideration, it would not be easy to find 
three distinct accounts of one expedition into a strange countrv 
that tallied more closely than do the accounts of that voyage to 
lake Superior which we find in the Jesuit Relations, the Joutwd 
of the Jesuits, and Radisson's Journal The return of RadissOB 
and Groseilliers from their second trip, the one to lake Superior, 
in August, 1660, is thus fully proven." 

The duration of the first expedition west, in which RftdlSSOfl 
claims to have traveled far southward, to a latitude wh«re "it 



never snows nor freezes, but is mighty hot," he asserts to have 
been three years ; but the Jesuit Relations state distinctly that the 
expedition which returned in 1656 had occupied only two years. 
In this discrepancy we must certainly rely on the Relations as 
truthful, for reasons to be presently more fully explained. When 
the fictitious year, as it may be called, is eliminated from this 
expedition, taking away the pretended journey to the shores of 
the Gulf of Mexico, the remaining narration of Radisson for the 
two years actually spent in the region of lake Michigan and on 
Prairie island seems entirely trustworthy, bearing many and in- 
dubitable evidences of its truth. 

Comparing this narration with the Jesuit Relations. Camp- 
bell well summarizes the general agreement as follows : "Our two 
Frenchmen, like the nameless Frenchmen of 1654- 1656, visited 
the Pottawatamies and the Maskoutens, the latter in the interior 
of Wisconsin. Radisson and Groseilliers. like the two nameless 
Frenchmen, were delayed in returning the first spring by the 
Indians. Their return, likewise, caused great joy in the colony, 
and salvos of artillery were also fired in their honor from the 
battlements of Quebec. We have already observed that the 
whereabouts of Radisson and Groseilliers from 1654 to 1656 can 
be accounted for in no other way than by making them identical 
with the two nameless Frenchmen ; and, moreover. Radisson and 
Groseilliers, if they were the two nameless Frenchmen, would 
, have had a year in which to rest, after their return, as Radisson 
says that they did." 

Very instructive and satisfactory discussion of contempora- 
neous records and historical dates in their relationship to 
these narratives, and of the discrepancies in Radisson's account of 
the first western voyage, is given, with citation of the original 
sources of comparison and a good bibliography of the consider- 
able literature concerning these explorers, by Campbell in his 
several papers published a few years ago. 

Chronology of the Four Expedition- 

In writing of the western expeditions, which most Uttered 
us because they extended to the area of Minnesota, Radisson set- 
dom exactly noted the date of any event by the month and never 
by the number of the vear. Much contusion has arisen, there- 



fore, among historians in determining- the years when these ex- 
peditions took place. 

Some authors, as Scull, the editor of the Prince Society's 
volume, Dionne, the librarian of the Legislature of Quebec, Suite, 
in his recent elaborate studies of this subject. Dr. Edward D. 
Neill, R. G. Thwaites, and Prof. George Bryce, have held that 
the first western expedition of Groseilliers and Radisson ter- 
minated in 1660, being the second of the two mentioned in the 
Jesuit Relations of 1656 and 1660. They consequently refer the 
second western trip narrated by Radisson to the years 1661-63, 
or to 1662-64. 

Others, including Campbell, before quoted, the late Alfred 
J. Hill and Hon. J. A'. Brower (in Volume VII of this Society's 
Historical Collections), and the late honored and beloved Cap- 
tain Russell Blakeley, vice president of this Historical Society 
(in Volume VIII of the same series), with most ample reasons 
consider the two western voyages of these explorers to be iden- 
tical with those reported in the Relations, terminating respective- 
ly in 1656 and 1660. This view is so clearly set forth by Camp- 
bell that it must be confidently accepted; indeed, the accurately 
known records in these narratives and other contemporaneous 
writings prove it conclusively. 

Radisson's captivity with the Iroquois, called his first voy- 
age, was, as we have seen, in 1652 and 1653, his first and second 
years after coming to Canada. Having escaped to France and 
thence come back to his home at Three Rivers early in 1654, he 
set out in the summer of that year with his brother-in-law Oil 
their first voyage to the far west, from which they returned in 

During the interval following, before the second voyage 
west. Radisson went to the Onondaga settlement in the central 
part of the area of Xew York state; and this expedition, call 
by him "the Second Voyage made in the Upper Country of the 
Iroquoits,'' occupied nearly a year, from July. 1657, to Nfarch 
or April, 1658. It is placed second by Radisson in his series oi 
narrations; and he explicitly says that the earliest western ex- 
pedition was undertaken afterward. 

He may have considered the geographic relationship more 
important than that of time, therefore placing the two troqu ; 
trips together, and the two in the far west likewise together; hut 



he ought not to have said definitely, in so many words, that the 
first western trip followed the second among- the Iroquois. By 
this arrangement of his writings, with the accompanying mis- 
statement, Radisson misled Scull and others in respect to their 
chronologic order. It is to be remembered, however, in palliaticn 
of the falsehood, that a high regard for continual veracity in 
historical authorship, especially among travelers and explorers 
in the New World, was less common then, and was more likely 
to pass undetected for a long period, than at the present time. 

Narrative of the First Western Expedition. 

The title or caption given by Radisson at the beginning of 
this narrative reads: "Now followeth the Auxoticiat Voyage 
into the Great and filthy Lake of the Hurrons, Upper Sea of the 
East, and Bay of the North." It occupies pages 134 to 172 in the 
publication by the Prince Society. No title is given for the 
second voyage west, which ensues in pages 173 to 247; and we 
must extend the references to the Upper Sea (lake Superior) and 
the Bay of the North (Hudson bay) to apply to that later west- 
ern expedition. The great importance of the discovery of the 
upper Mississippi river was neglected in the title, doubtless be- 
cause the more northern region of Hudson bay, easy to be 
reached by English ships, promised larger and earlier pecuniary 
profits in commerce. 

Groseilliers and Radisson. voyaging in birch canoes with a 
small company of Hurons and Ottawas, came to lake Huron by 
the usual route of the Ottawa river and lake Nipissing. Their 
Indian escort then divided, and a part went with the French trav- 
elers southward around Georgian bay and lake Huron to Bois 
Blanc island and the strait of Mackinac. The first autumn and 
winter were spent in visiting from tribe to tribe in the region of 
Mackinac and Green bay. "I liked noe country." says Radisson. 
"as I have that wherein we wintered; tlor whatever a man couid 
desire was to be had in great plenty ; viz. Staggs, fishes in abund- 
ance, & all sort of meat, come enough." He says of lake Huron: 

The coast cf this lake is most delightful! to the mimic. The lands 
smooth, and woods of all snrl<. In many places There arc nur.y llfgt 
open fields where in. I believe, wildmcn formerly lived before thf dCftfttC- 



tion of the many nations which did inhabit, and took more place then 600 
leagues about. 

Lake Michigan, with its surrounding forests and prairies 
and Indian tribes, appeared even more fascinating to Radisson's 
enraptured and prophetic vision. He wrote of it in an ecstasy: 

We embarked ourselves on the delightfullest lake of the world. I took 
notice of their Cottages & of the journeys of our navigation, for because 
that the country was so pleasant, so beautifull & fruitfull that it grieved 
me to see that the world could not discover such inticing countrys to live 
in. This I say because that the Europeans, fight for a rock in the sea 
against one another, or for a sterill land and horrid country, that the people 
sent heere or there by the changement of the aire ingenders sicknesse and 
dies thereof. Contrarywise those kingdoms are so delicious & under so 
temperat a climat, plentiful! of all things, the earth bringing foorth its 
fruit twice a yeare. the people live long & lusty & wise in their way. Wha: 
conquest would that bee att litle or no cost; what laborinth of pleasure 
should millions of people have, instead that millions complaine of misery 
& poverty ! 

So carried away was our author by his zeal to show to Eng- 
land the excellence of this fertile and vast interior of our con- 
tinent that he yielded to the temptation to describe as actually 
seen by himself the far southward continuation of the same coun- 
try, beyond the limits of his travels, but known to him by ac- 
counts of the roving Indians. To give time for this pretended 
southern exploration, Radisson here interpolated a fictitious year. 

Attentively persuing the narrative, I am impressed with the 
lack of details of journeys and experiences during the time be- 
tween the first and second winters of Radisson's three years. He 
seems to have fabricated the story of that year, drawing his gen- 
eral descriptions of the southern half of lake Michigan and the 
vast region beyond from what he could learn in conversation with 
the red men. He understood the Algonquian languages, and 
these people and their southern neighbors had occasional inter- 
course and travel from tribe to tribe, so that among the aboriginal 
ornaments and amulets in Minnesota and Manitoba Wi I 
shells from the Gulf of Mexico. The implied voyage or Groseil- 

hers and Radisson far down the Mississippi may therefore be re- 

It is known with certainty that Radisson returned ' 
France, after his Iroquois captivity, in the ftpfing of i and it 



seems also certain that he and Groseilliers returned to Quebec 
from their first western expedition in 1656. Therefore it appears 
clearly impossible that this expedition could have occupied a long- 
er time than the two years which the Jesuit Relations accredit to 
it. The meagerness, vagueness, and misconceptions of the nar- 
ration for the fictitious year will appear by the following quo- 
tations : 

We meet with severall nations, all sedentary, amazed to see us. & 
weare very civil. The further we sejourned the delighttuller the land was 
to us. I can say that [in] my lifetime I never saw a more incomparable 
country, for all I have ben in Italy; yett Italy comes short of it. as I think, 
when it was inhabited, & now forsaken of the wildmen. Being about the 
great sea [lake Michigan or the Gulf of Mexico?], we conversed with 
people that dwelleth about the salt water, who tould us that they savv 
some great white thing sometimes uppon the water, & came towards the 
shore, & men in the top of it. and made a noise like a company of swans: 
which made me believe that they weare mistaken, for I could not imagine 
what it could be, except the Spaniard ; and the reason is that we found 
a barill broken as they use in Spaine. 

Evidently Radisson intended here, in saving that they found 
a Spanish barrel, to convey the impression that they came to the 
Gulf coast; as also he almost surely meant by "the great sea." 
It is very significant, however, that he does not here allude to the 
great river Mississippi, on which route they would necessarily 
have come to that coast and returned from it by several weeks of 
laborious canoeing. His narration is thus like the playbill an- 
nouncing "the tragedy of Hamlet, the character of the Prince of 
Denmark being left out." 

Radisson continues in the same paragraph to describe the 
people there, with similar erroneous comprehension, based on 
hearsay that he partly miscontrued, as follows: 

Those people hav e their haires long. They reap twice a yeare; they are 
called Tatarga, tint is to say. bull. 1 bey warn- acm.iw Na 
[the Sioux], and warre also against the Christ ionos [the Crersj 

These 2 doe no great harme t*> one another, because the lake 1^ betweee 
both. They are generally stout men, that they ire able to defend them- 
selves. They eonte hut once a year to fight. It the season of the reare 
had permitted us to stay, for we intended to goe backfl the yeare foUoWlSfc 
we had indeavourcd to make peace betweeitc them. We had not as yen 
seene the nation Nadoncceronons. We had hiirroni ^ Wee per- 



suaded them to come along to sec their owne nation that fled there, but 
they would not by any means. We thought to gett some castors [beavers' 
;«kins] there to bring downe to the ffrench, seeing [it] att last impossible 
to us to make such a circuit in a twelve month's time. We weare every 
where much made of: neither wanted victualls, for all the different na- 
tions that we mett conducted us & furnished us with all necessaries. Tend- 
ing to those people, went towards the South & came back by the north. 

The Summer passed away with admiration by the diversity of the 
nations that we saw, as for the beauty of the shore of that sweet sea 
[i.e., great lake of fresh water]. Heere wc saw fishes of divers, some like 
the sturgeons & have a kind of slice att the end of their nose some 3 fingers 
broad in the end and 2 onely neere the nose, and some 8 thumbs long, all 
marbled of a blakish collor [the shovel-nosed sturgeon]. There are birds 
whose bills are two and 20 thumbs long. That bird [the pelican] swallows 
a whole salmon, keeps it a long time in his bill. We saw also shee-^oa:> 
very bigg. There is an animal somewhat lesse than a cow whose 'meat is 
exceeding good. There is no want of Staggs nor Buffes. There are so 
many Tourkeys that the boys throws stoants att them for their recrea- 
tion. . . Most of the chores of the lake is nothing but sand. There are 
mountains [sand dunes] to be seeue farre in the land. There comes not so 
many rivers from [into] that lake as from others: these that flow from it 
are deeper and broader, the trees are very bigg, but not so thick. There is 
a great distance from one another, & a quantitie of all sorts of fruits, but 
small. The vines grows all by the river side ; the lemons are not so bigg 
as ours, and sowrer. The grape is very bigg, greene, is seene there att nil 
times. It never snows nor freezes there, but mighty hot; yett for all that 
the country is not so unwholsom, rTor we seldom have seene infirme 1 peo- 

It seems probable that a part of Radisson's information of 
the fauna, notably his reference to "shee-goats very bigg." be- 
longs to the Rocky mountains, rather than the country of lake 
Michigan and the Mississippi, which he is endeavoring to de- 
scribe. His idea that the tribes of the tar south, bordenr 
the Gulf of Mexico, habitually sent war parties each year into 
the country of the Sioux and the Crees. the latter living, then 
as now. north and northwest of lake Superior, presents most de- 
cisive internal evidence that the narration of tins war v 
ered only from hearsay, for which, as wo shall sec Radisson had 
splendid opportunity in his very long hunting excursii n with the 
savages during the summer of 1655, starting from and returning 
to Prairie island. 

When we come to Radisson's account of that next year, fol- 
lowing his apparent fiction so vaguely and blunderingly told, ho 



resumes his accustomed definiteness of details, telling us that 
in the early spring-, before the snow and ice were gone, which 
forbade the use of canoes, these Frenchmen, with about a hun- 
dred and fifty men and women of the native tribes, traveled al- 
most fifty leagues on snowshoes, coming to a riverside where 
they spent three weeks in making boats. This journey was, if 
I rightly identify it, from the vicinity of Green bay, in eastern 
Wisconsin, across that state to the Mississippi, reaching this 
river near the southeast corner of Minnesota or somewhat farth- 
er south, perhaps coming by a route not far from the canoe route 
of the Fox and Wisconsin rivers. Thence they voyaged eight 
days up the river on which their boats had been made, to vil- 
lages of two tribes, probably in the vicinity of Winona, where 
they obtained meal and corn, which supplied this large company 
until they "came to the first landing isle." 


The description indicates that the voyageurs passed along 
lake Pepin and upward to the large Isle Pelee (or Bald island), 
now called Prairie island, on the Minnesota side of the main 
river channel a few miles above Red Wing. On this island, 
which derived its names, both in French and English, from its 
being mostly a prairie, a large number of Hurons and Ottawa?, 
fleeing from their enemies, the Iroquois, had recently taken re- 
fuge, and had begun the cultivation of corn. Their harvest the 
preceding year, on newly worked land, was small : but much corn 
would be needed for food during the long journey thence to 
Quebec with beaver skins, which canoe voyage, requiring a 
month or more, Groseilliers and Radisson wished to begin soon 
after their arrival at the island. They were obliged to remain 
till the next year, and Groseilliers spent the summer on Prairie 
island and in its vicinity, one of his chief objects being to pro- 
vide a large supply of corn for the return journey. Meanwhile 
Radisson went with hunting parties, and traveled "four months 
. . . without doing anything but go from river to river." He 
was enamored of the beauty and fertility of the Country, and was 
astonished at its herds of buffaloes and antelopes, Aockfl of peli- 
cans, and the shovel-nosed sturgeon, all of which he particular!) 



described. Such was the first year, 1655, of observations and 
exploration by white men in Minnesota, and their earliest navi- 
gation of the upper part of the Mississippi river. Accompanied 
by several hundred Hurons and other Algonquins, and carrying 
a most welcome freight of furs, Groseilliers and Radisson re- 
turned to Montreal and Quebec in August, 1656. Their stay 
at Prairie island covered the period from April or May, 1655, 
to June, 1656, about fourteen months. 

My identification, as thus stated, of Radisson's '''first land- 
ing isle," according with a suggestion of Campbell, differs wide- 
ly from the view taken by the late Captain Blakeley in his pa- 
per presented several years ago to this Society, published in Vol- 
ume VIII of its Historical Collections. He thought that island 
to be probably in lake Saganaga, on the northern boundarv of 
Minnesota. Therefore it becomes needful to give here quite ex- 
plicitly the six chief reasons for my assertion in favor of Prairie 
island. These may be received as conclusive, while yet indul- 
ging much leniency toward other views, because even the Indian 
geographic names, and also the direction of journeys, as north- 
ward, or southward, are generally wanting in the crude account 
of these earliest explorations in a previously unknown region. 

First, the geographic features and distances of the route 
from Green bay or lake Winnebago to the Mississippi, and up 
this river to Prairie island, seem to me harmonious with Radis- 
son's narration ; but, on the contrary, the route by lake Superior 
and northward to Saganaga lake differs greatly from what is 
narrated of the snowshoe and canoe journeys. 

Second, many of the Hurons and Ottawas. escaping from 
their foes, the fierce Iroquois, are known, by other and contem- 
poraneous historical testimony, to have fled to the Mississippi 
and settled at Prairie island about this time; and the narration 
shows that the Indians who are said to have come newly there 
were Huron refugees. These Indians never penetrated to the 
far northern and cold country beyond lake Superior. 

Third, the cool climate and predominantly rocky land of 
our northern boundary from lake Superior to the mouth of Rainy 
lake, with the altitude of Saganaga lake. 1434 feet si i the 

sea, and the small size and very rocky surface of its many islands, 

make corn-raising there, on a large scale, quite impossible; where 



as the extensive Prairie island, 670 to 735 feet above the sea, and 
situated three and a half degrees farther south, with an easily 
cultivated and very productive alluvial soil, is by nature most 
admirably adapted for the primitive agriculture of the aborigines 
and for their most valuable crop, Indian corn. 

Fourth, Radisson distinctly says that in starting toward the 
great river and its ''first landing isle," they bade farewell to 
the Indians of the Sault Ste. Marie and of the North. . 

Fifth, he also states that in the region of that island beavers 
were not so plentiful as "in the north part," showing clearly 
that they were then farther south than during the preceding win- 
ter, which they had spent about the northern end of lake Mich- 

Sixth, the journey of return from that island was first to 
the south and then to the north. This description applies to the 
canoe voyage from Prairie island southward down the Missis- 
sippi, and then northward up the Wisconsin river and down the 
Fox river to Green bay. It could not describe any route of re- 
turn from lake Saganaga. 

No other locality on or near the northern border of Minne- 
sota can satisfy the requirements of the narration ; nor can any 
other island in the Mississippi, or in any river of this region, 
meet these requirements so satisfactorily as Prairie island, which 
is the largest in all the course of the Mississipi. The identifi- 
cation seems to me to stand in the clearest light, without a shad- 
ow of reason for distrust. 

Many islands had been passed in the long canoe journey up 
the Mississippi, but the "first landing isle" was the first having 
sufficient height and extent to be adapted for permanent settle- 
ment by the Indians and later by white men. This name ft 
to imply a second isle farther up the river, rising likewise IDOVC 
its highest flood stage and therefore permanently habitable, which 
conditions mark Gray Cloud island, about four mile* long and 
one to two miles wide, situated about ten miles above Prairie 

island and five miles above Hastings. Both these islands were 
inhabited long before the coming of white immigration, an I 
even at the time of this first expedition of GroseiUiers and R 
isson they were probably already known by the Indians as the 
first and second "landing isles." Each shows traces of \crv 



ancient occupancy, made known by Hon. J. V. B rower's archac- 
ologic examination and mapping of their aboriginal mounds, vil- 
lage sites, and places of canoe landings. 

Isle Pelee, as Prairie island was called by the French, is 
ten and a half miles long, and has an average width of about two 
miles, with a maximum of two and three-fourths miles. Its 
area is about twenty square miles, and its highest par*: is 40 to 
65 feet above the low water stage of the inclosing rivers. Thi3 
large island lies between the Mississippi and a western tributary, 
the Vermillion river, which flow respectively along its north- 
east and southwest sides, each measuring more than ten miles. 
At its northwest or upstream end, the island is bounded by True- 
dell slough, which supplies, even at the lowest stage of water, 
a connection between the Mississippi and the Vermillion, usu- 
ally carrying a current from the former to the latter ; but during 
floods in the smaller river, when it is the higher, the direction of 
the current in the slough is reversed. In the highest floods from 
exceptional rains or from the snow-melting in spring, the Mis- 
sissippi rises 16 to 18 feet above its lowest stage: and then it 
sends oflf a wide part of its waters along the course of the Ver- 
million, to reunite with the broader flood of the main river 
south of the island, which is reduced at such times to a length 
of about seven miles and a maximum width of only about one 

This island possesses several beautiful lakes, from a half 
mile to two miles long ; and the largest, Sturgeon lake, has a 
width of a half mile. Timber grows along most parts of the 
shores of these lakes, and along the banks of both the Mississippi 
and Vermillion rivers, in some places reaching far from the 
shores; but about four-fifths of the island is prairie, as it was 
also indubitably when Groseilliers and Radisson came there, 
cepting an extensive low and marshy tract on the northwestern 
part of the island, all its prairie is suitable for cultivation and 
is now occupied and used for farming, including not less than ten 
or twelve square miles, or about 7,000 acres. 

As I traversed this historic island in early May of the year 
1901, at nearly the exact season of the arrival of these French- 
men almost two and a half centuries ago, my thoughts went hack 

to that springtime, and I endeavored to picture their coming With 




a hundred and fifty Indians to join those who a year or two 
before had come there, attracted by the fitness of the land for 
corn-raising. The island was then a great prairie as now, and 
its sedentary Indian population may have usually exceeded its 
present number of white inhabitants, perhaps a hundred and fifty, 
with their twenty-five or thirty farmhouses, two schoolhouses, 
and a church. Instead of the neighboring railways and villages 
of civilization, all the Mississippi basin from lake Itasca to 
the Gulf was uninhabited by white men. But it had many In- 
dian villages, many cultivated fields yielding abundantly, and 
unlimited supplies of fish and game. The native tribes had not 
yet obtained the firearms before which the buffaloes, elk and 
deer, and most of the wild fowl, have fallen and vanished away. 
Their traffic with Europeans was begun by these two daring 
explorers and traders. 

Groseilliers at this date was thirty-four years old, and was 
well experienced in the hazardous life of a pioneer Indian trad- 
er, prudent, persevering, and successful. His comrade was 
scarcely twenty years old, full of courage, resourceful, fond of 
wild adventure, and eager to see new regions. If we compare 
their enterprise to a boat or ship, Groseilliers was like the bal- 
last to keep the craft right side up, while Radisson was like the 
sail to give speed and distance. 

It will be profitable to us of this Historical Society, and to 
all Minnesota readers, that the part of Radisson's narration giv- 
ing the journey to Trairie island and the events of their stay 
shall be here fully transcribed, as follows: 

. . Att last we dechred our mind first to those of the Sittlt, en- 
couraging those of the North that WC arc their brethren, &: that we would 
come back and force their enemy to peace or that we would help against 
them. We made guilts one to another, and thwarted a land of ailmost 50 
leagues before the snow was melted. In the morning it was a nlcasur to 
walke, for we could goe without racketts. The snow was hard enough, 
because it f reeled every night. When the sun U-gan to shine we payed 
for the time past. The snow sticks .no to our racketts that I believe our 
shoes weighed 30 pounds, which was a panic, hiving a burden uppon our 
backs besides. 

We arrived, some 150 of uv men & women, to a river side, where »c 
stayed 3 weeks making boat-. Heft we wanted not fish. During that time 
we made feasts att a high rate. So we refreshed ourselves from our 
labours. In that time we tookc notice the boddl ol trttt blfl I bq 



spring, which made us to make more hast & be gone. We went up the 
river 8 days till we came to a nation called Pontonatenick & Maionenock ; 
that is, the scrattchers. There we got some Indian meale & corne from 
those 2 nations, which lasted us till we came to the first landing Isle. 
There we weare well received againe. We made guifts to the Elders to 
encourage the yong people to bring us downe to the ffrench. But mightily 
mistaken; ffor they would reply, "Should you bring us to be killed? 
The Iroquoits are every where about the river & undoubtedly will destroy 
us if we goe downe, & afterwards our wives & those that stayed behinde. 
Be wise, brethren, & offer not to goe downe this yeare to the fTrench. Lett 
us keepe our lives." We made many private suits, but all in vaine. That 
vexed us most that we had given away most of our merhandises & swapped 
a great deale for Castors [beavers]. Moreover they made no great har- 
vest, being but newly there. Beside, they weare no great huntsmen. Our 
journey was broaken till the next yeare, & must per force. 

That summer I went a hunting, & my brother stayed where he was 
welcome & putt up a great deale of Tndian corne that was given him. He 
intended to furnish the wildmen that weare to goe downe to the ffrench 
if they had not enough. The wildmen did not perceive this : ffor if they 
wanted any, we could hardly kept it for our use. The winter passes away 
in good correspondence one with another. & sent ambassadors to the na- 
tions that uses to goe downe to the ffrench. which rejoiced them the more 
& made us passe that veare with a greater pleasur, saving that my brother 
fell into the falling sicknesse, & many weare sorry for it. That proceeded 
onely of a long stay in a newly discovered country, & the idlenesse con- 
tributs much to it. There is nothing comparable to exercise. It is the 
onely remedy of such diseases. Alter he languished awhile God gave htm 
his health againe. 


Here let us pause briefly to consider the attainments of the 
aborigines of America in agriculture ,the oldest of the industrial 
arts that lead from savagery toward civilization. Among the 
several notable additions to the world's important food resources 
which were received by the discovery of this western continent, 
including potatoes, tomatoes, the most common species and va- 
rieties of beans, the pumpkin, the pine-apple, and the domesticated 
turkey, no other ranks so high in value as maize or Indian eorn. 
which was cultivated in abundance by all the tribes of tl 
and southern United States, from the Atlantic to the upper Mis- 
sissippi and quite across the continent to California. .i> alto far- 
ther south in Mexico and Central America, and onward to Peru, 
Chile, and the River La Plata. 


Schoolcraft wrote of this grain : "The Zea, maize, originally 
furnished the principal article of subsistance among all the tribes 
of this race, north and south. It lay at the foundation of the 
Mexicam and Peruvian types of civilization, as well as the in- 
cipient gleamings of it among the more warlike tribes of the 
Iroquois, Natchez, Lenapees, and others, of northern latitudes. 
They esteem it so important and divine a grain, that their story- 
tellers invented various talcs, in which this idea is symbolized 
under the form of a special gift from the Great Spirit. Th? 
Odjibwa-Algonquins, who call it Mon-da-min, that is, the Spirit's 
grain or berry, have a pretty story of this kind, in which the 
stalk in full tassel is represented as descending from the sky. 
under the guise of a handsome youth, in answer to the prayers of 
a young man at his fast of virility, or coming to manhood.""-' 

John Fiske wrote : "The ancient Americans had a cereal 
plant peculiar to the New World, which made comparatively 
small demands upon the intelligence and industry of the culti- 
vator. Maize or Tndian corn' has played a most important part 
in the history of the New World, as regards both the red men 
and the white men. It could be planted without clearing or 
ploughing the soil. It was only necessary to girdle the tree* 
with a stone hatchet, so as to destroy their leaves and let in the 
sunshine. A few scratches and digs were made in the ground 
with a stone digger, and the seed once dropped in took care of 
itself. The ears could hang for weeks after ripening, and could 
be picked off without meddling with the stalk: there was no 
need of threshing and winnowing. None of the Old World 
cereals can be cultivated without much more industry and in- 
telligence. At the same time when Indian corn is sown in 
tilled land, it yields with little labour more than twice as much 
food per acre as any other kind of grain. This was of incal- 
culable advantage to the English settlers of New England, who 
would have found it much harder to gain a secure foothold Up n 
the soil if they had had to begin by preparing it for wheat an 1 
rye without the aid of the beautiful and beneficent American 

Repeatedly the first white inhabitants of Massachusetts and 
Virginia were saved from hunger, and probably even from 

•Oneot*. 1*4:.. p. dt. 

tThe Dihcovery of Aincri. «, |Of, ?ol, |„ pp. f f, ft 



ation, by the corn which they obtained by gift or purchase or 
stealing from the Indians. Vast fields of maize, in tens and some- 
times hundreds of acres, were cultivated close to the larger vil- 
lages of all the Indian tribes, as is well attested by the earliest 
chroniclers of our colonial history, and by the observations of 
the first travelers throughout all the eastern half of our country. 
In the accounts of the terrible Indian wars of tribal extermin- 
ation, like those waged by the Iroquois against the Hurons and 
the Illinois, and in the campaigns of the French and later of the 
English against the Iroquois themselves, the wanton destruc- 
tion of their great cornfields and stores of corn saved for winter, 
or often for two or more years to guard against any failure of 
crops, excites our astonishment, and shows how large a share 
agriculture contributed to their subsistence. 

The Hurons, especially, were a people whose large depend- 
ence on agriculture, with proportional deficiency as wandering 
hunters or marauding warriors, had made them an easy prey 
of the ferocious and pitiless Iroquois. One branch of this 
people was called the Tobacco tribe or nation, because they were 
remarkably addicted to the cultivation and use of tobacco, which 
also indeed was cultivated, though in less degree, by all the tribes, 
and was another gift from America to the world. Groseilliers 
and Radisson had noted the extensive deserted fields of the Hu- 
rons, depopulated by raids of their Iroquois enemies, about the 
south part of Georgian bay, the great eastern arm of the lake 
which bears their name. Wherever their straggling remnants 
migrated, to the Illinois Indians on the Illinois river, to the Upper 
Iowa river, to Prairie island, and soon afterward to the interior 
of northern Wisconsin and to Chequamegon bay, they carried 
superior knowledge and practice of agriculture, for which reason 
they occupied this beautiful island of the Mississippi a tew years, 
until compelled to abandon it by the frequent attacks ot the 
neighboring Sioux. 

All the chief varieties of maize, as that with small and hard 
yellow kernels, cultivated farthest north, the more rank plant 
with large indented kernels, whether yellow or white, cultivate I 
through the southern part of this country, the white sweet QOCH< 
and pop corn, had originated in cultivation by the American r.uv 
before the Columbian discovery. But the ancient native habitat 



of this species, the only one of its genus, has not been surely 
ascertained. As a wild plant, it may have become extinct. How 
long it had been cultivated, we cannot closely estimate: but its 
very diverse varieties, like those of many cultivated plants, point 
to a great antiquity. I cannot doubt that men inhabited America 
long before the end of the Ice age, having come hither from 
northeastern Asia, perhaps also from northwestern Europe, across 
land areas which are now submerged by the sea, but which be- 
fore the Ice age, and during its greater part, were uplifted much 
higher than now. Easy access was then afforded for primitive 
men to come to this continent, and to spread throughout its entire 
length to Patagonia. Even during the early and middle part of 
the long Glacial period this migration might take place, for the 
high elevation of the northern portion of North America doubt- 
less gave to it a resemblance to Greenland at the present day, in 
that the continental ice-sheet, though extending beyond the pres- 
ent coast lines, terminated inside the general coast of that time, 
leaving a narrow land border where men could journey, obtaining 
as food the mollusks, fish, and game of this coastal belt. 

Speedily after Columbus and his successors established com- 
merce between the New and Old Worlds, maize was carried into 
Europe and Asia, and became a staple crop in many countries, 
from the Mediterranean region to China. Today it feeds more 
people than any other article of food, excepting perhaps rice. • 


Coming back from this digression, we see Grosetlliers and 
Radisson making all preparations for the long journey of their 
return to Lower Canada. Many of the Indians must necessarily 
accompany them, and their canoes wilt be well laden with val- 
uable furs, mostly of the beaver or castor. But the HurOflfl and 
other Indians who must be the Frenchmen's escort and retinue 
are still faint-hearted, dreading ambuscade and attack Ofl their 
way by the tierce Iroquois who had so recently devastated ail the 
Huron country. The earnest arguments of Groseillierj U 
insufficient, until Radisson by a hold assertion that be will star: 
alone, at the same time .suiting the action to the word, turns the 
tide of the council to approve and authorize the dangerous jOUT- 



ney. Radisson narrates this in picturesquely graphic and dra- 
matic style, bringing this great council very clearly before us, as 
follows : 

The desire that every one had to goe downe to the ffrench made 
them earnestly looke out for castors. They have not so many there as in 
the north part, so in the beginning of spring many came to our Isle. There 
weare no lesse, I believe, then 500 men that weare willing to venter them- 
selves. The come that my brother kept did us a world of service. The 
wildmen brought a quantity of flesh salted in a vesell. When we weare 
ready to depart, heere comes Strang news of the defeat of the hurrons. 
which news, I thought, would putt off the voyage. There was a councell 
held, & most of them weare against the goeing downe to the ffrench, say- 
ing that the Iroquoits weare to barre this yeare, & the best way was to 
stay till the following yeare. And now the ennemy, seeing himselfe Fl 
trated of his expectation, would not stay longer, thinking thereby that we 
weare resolved nevermore to go downe, and that next yeare there should 
be a bigger company, & better able to oppose an ennemy. My brother and 
I, seeing ourselves all out of hopes of our voyage, without our come, 
which was allready bestowed, & without any merchandise, or scarce having 
one knife betwixt us both, so we weare in a great apprehension least that 
the hurrons should, as they have done often, when the frathers weare in 
their country, kill a frenchman. 

Seeing the equipage ready & many more that thought long to depart 
thence for marchandise, we uppon this resolved to call a publiquc courceil 
in the place; which the Elders hearing, came and advised us not to under- 
take it, giving many faire words, saying, "Brethren, why are you such enne- 
mys to yourselves to putt yourselves in the hands of those that wait for you ? 
They will destroy you and carry you away captives. Will you have your 
brethren destroyed that loves you, being slained? Who then will come mi 
and baptize our children? Stay till the next yeare, & then you are like 
to have the number of 600 men in company with you. Then you miy 
freely goe without intermission. Yee shall take the church along frith 
you, & the {Fathers & mothers will send their children to be taught in the 
way of truth of the Lord." Our answer was that we would speake in puh- 
lique, which granted, the day appointed is come. There gathered ibovc Ski 
men to see who should have the glorie in a round. They satt downe on 
the ground. We desired silence. The elders being in the Rlidle & wc in 
their midle, my brother began to speake. "'Who am I? am I a foe or .1 
friend? If I am a foe, why did you suffer me to live 
If I am a friend. & if you take so to be, hearken to what T shall SI] \ 
know, my uncles & Brethren, that I hazarded my life tjoeinfl 
if I have no courage, why did you not tell me att my first coming B€l 
& if you have more witt then we. why did not JTOU u<c it by pre 
your knives, your hattchetts, & your gunns, that you had from the ffl 
You will see if the ennemy will sett upon you U will be Itl 
like castors in a trapc; how will you defend yourseKes like men thai It 



not courageous to lett your selves be catched like beasts? How will you 
defend villages? with castors" skins? how will you defend your wives & 
children from the ennemy's hands?"' 

Then my brother made me stand up, saying, "Shew diem the way to 
make warrs if they are able to uphold it." I tooke a gowne of castors' 
skins that one of them had uppon liis shoulder & did beat him with it. I 
asked the others if I was a souldicr. "'Those are the armes that kill. & not 
your robes. What will your enhemy say when you perish without defending 
yourselves? Doe not you know the ffrench way? We are used to fight 
with armes & not with robes. You say that the Iroqucits waks for you 
because some of your men weare killed. It is oiiely to make you stay until 1 
you are quite cut oi stocke, that they dispatch you with ease. Doe you 
think that the ffrench will come up here when the greatest part of you 
is slained by your owne fault? You know that they cannot come up 
without you. Shall they come to baptize your dead? Shall your children 
learne to be slaves among the Iroquotts for their frathers' cowardnesse? 
You call me Iroquoit. Have not you seene ine disposing my life with you? 
V/ho has given you your life if not the ffrench? Now you will not venter 
because many of your confederates are come to visit you & venter their 
lives with you. If you will deceave them you must not think that they will 
come an other time lor shy words nor desire. You have spoaken of it first, 
doe what you will. For myne owne part, I will venter choosing to die 
like a man then live like a beggar. Having not wherewithal] to defend 
myselfe, farewell; I have my sack of corne ready. Take ail my castor?. 
I shall live without you.*' & then departed that company. 

They weare amazed of our proceeding ; they stayed long before they 
spoake one to another. Att last sent us some considerable persons who bid 
us cheare up. "We see that you are in the right; the voyage is not broak- 
en. The yong people tooke \ery ill that you have beaten them with the 
skin. All avowed to die like men & undertake the journey. You shall 
heare what the councell will ordaine the morrow. They are to meet pri- 
vacy & you shall be called to it. Cheare up & spcake as you have done; 
that is my councell to you. For this you will remember me who fOU 
will see me in your country; ffor I will venter myselfe with yon.'' Now 
we are more satisfied then the day before. We weare to use all rheto- 
rique to persuade them to goe downe, ffor we saw the country languish 
very much, ffor they could not subsist. & moreover they weare afraid of 
us. The councell is called, but we had no need to make a speech, finding 
them di-posed to make the voyage & to submitt. "Yee women gett y 
husbands' bundles ready. They goe to gett wherwithall to defend them- 
selves & you alive." 

What a scene was that ~rcat public council for a pod OC 
painter, to depict Groseiiliers and Radisson pleading before eight 
hundred Indians! Il is a day in the middle or later part of June 
On each side, some two miles away, rise the wooded blttffl thai 



inclose the valley and its islands. In a beautiful prairie area 
the motley crowd of savages are sitting or lying on the ground. 
At the center of the assemblage these two courageous Frenchmen 
are striving to persuade their dusky auditors to set out on the first 
commercial venture connecting this region with civilization. 


As Groseilliers and Radisson now leave the area of Minne- 
sota, we will give only a short acount of their further fortunes 
until they again arrive in our northwestern country. The fol- 
lowing narrative of Radisson is very brief for the first two-thirds 
of the journey, until they have passed beyond lake Xipissing. 

Our equipage was ready in 6 dayes. We embarked ourselves. W? 
weare in number about 500. all stout men. We had with us a great store 
of castors' skins. We came to the South. We now goe back to the north, 
because to overtake a band of men that went before to give notice to oth- 
ers. We passed the lake without dangers. We wanted nothing, having 
good store of come & netts to catch fi>h, which is plenty-full in the river.-". 
We came to a place where 8 Iroquoits wintered. That was the company 
that made a slaughter before our departure from home. Our men repented 
now they did not goe sooner, ffor it might be they should have surprised 
them. Att last we are out of those lakes. 

On the lower Ottawa river, after passing the Calumet rapids, 
the voyageurs were harassed by small parties of the Iroquois, 
who endeavored to bar their advance but were defeated. In 
speaking of one of their encounters, against "16 boats of our 
ennemy,'' Radisson enumerates the Indian tribes represented 
in his company, as follows : 

. . . We begin to make outcrycs & sing. The tlUfTOns in one lade, 
the Algonquin* att the other side, the Ottanak [Ottawas], the panoestigons 
[Sautters, Ojibways], the Amickkoick [Beaver Indians], the Nadonicenago 
[Sinagoes. an Ottawa band J, the ticacon [probably Tatarga. the Pn 
Sioux], and we both encouraged them all, crying out with a loud noi^c. 

After the latest encounter with the Iroquois, in running 

rapids of "that swift Streamc the bad lackc was," Wft 

Radisson, "that where my brother was the boat [over] turned 
in the torrent, being seaven of them together, wcarr in greal dan 

i »t .jt* 



ger, rTor God was mercifull to give them strength to save them- 
selves My brother lost his booke of annotations of 

the last yeare of our being in these foraigne nations. We lost 
never a castor, but may be some better thing. It's better [that 
one] loose all then lose his life." The place of this misfortune, 
as we learn in the description of the return from the second west- 
ern expedition, was the Long Sault of the Ottawa, a series of 
rapids extending 1 nearly six miles next below Grenville. about 
halfway between Ottawa and Montreal. Many times will Min- 
nesota historians regret that the diary of Groseilliers at Prairie 
island was thus lost! Instead, we have only what Radisson re- 
membered and wrote for his English patrons about ten years 

The arrival of this company, with their large stock of furs, 
brought great rejoicing to the French settlements, which had lan- 
guished, on account of the failure of the fur trade, since 1649- 
50, when the Hurons. with whom principally this trade existed, 
were mostly killed, and the others driven from their country, by 
the Iroquois and by famine following their cruel warfare. Rad- 
isson wrote: 

... I give you leave if those of mont Royall weare not overjoyed 
to see us arrived where they affirme us the pitiful! conditions that the 
country was by the cruelty of these cruell harhars, that perpetually killed 
& slaughtered to the very gate of the fTrench fort . . . We came to Que- 
becq, where we are saluted with the thundring of the guns & batteryes of 
the fort, and of the 3 shipps that weare then at anchor, which had gon 
back to france without castors if we had not come. We weare well trait- 
ed for 5 dayes. The Governor made guilts & sent 2 Brigantins to bring us 
to the 3 rivers 


The parallel narration of this expedition in the Jesuit Rela- 
tion of 1655-56 supplies some very interesting and important ad- 
ditional details : 

On the sixth day of August, 1654, two young Frenchmen, full of 

courage, having received permission from Monsieur the GovtmOf 6l the 
Country to embark with some of the PeopltJ who had coruc down to our 

French ^-settlements, began a journey of more than five hundred league* 
under the guidance of these Argonauts,— conveyed, not in great Galleon* 



or large oared Barges, but in little Gondolas of bark. The two Pilgrim? 
fully expected to return in the Spring of 1655, but those Peoples did not 
conduct them home until toward the end of August of this year, 1656. 
Their arrival caused the Country universal joy, for they were accompanied 
by fifty canoes, laden with goods which the French come to this end of 
the world to procure. The fleet rode in state and in fine order along your 
mighty river, propelled by five hundred arms, and guided by as many eyes, 
most of which had never seen the great wooden canoes of the French, — 
that is to say, their Ships. 

Having landed, amid the stunning noise of Cannon, and having quick- 
ly built their temporary dwellings, the Captains ascended to Fort saint 
Louys to salute Monsieur our Governor, bearing their speeches in their 
hands. These were two presents, which represent words among these Peo- 
ples. One of the two gifts asked for some Frenchmen, to go and pass the 
Winter in their Country ; while the other made request for some Fathers 
of our Society, to teach all the Nations of those vast Regions the way to 
Heaven. They were answered, in their own way, by presents, and were 
very willingly granted all that they asked. But, while those assigned to this 
great undertaking are making their preparations, let us learn some news 
from the two French Pilgrims and from their hosts. 

- . . . we were told of many Nations surrounding the Nation of the 
Sea [the Winnebagoes] which some have called "the Stinkard-." because 
its people formerly lived on the shores of the Sea, which they call Ouini- 
peg, that is, "'stinking water." The Liniouck [Illinois], their neighbors, 
comprise about sixty Villages; the Nadoucsiottck [Sioux] have fully forty; 
the Pouarak [Assiniboines], at least thirty; and the Kiristinors [Crees] 
surpass all the above in extent, reaching as far as the North Sea. The 
Country of the Hurons. which had only seventeen Villages, extending over 
about as many leagues, maintained fully thirty thousand people. 

. . . these two young men have not undergone hardships for naught 
in their long journey. Not only have they enriched some Frenchmen upen 
their return, but they also caused great joy in all Paradise, during their 
travels, by Baptizing and sending to Heaven about three hundred little 
children, who began to know, love, and possess God. as soon U they wert 
washed in his blood through the waters of Baptism. They awakened in 
the minds of those Peoples the remembrance of the beauties of our Faith, 
whereof they had acquired the first tincture in the Country of the Huror-. 
when Ihey visited our Fathers living there, or when some of us approach;- a 
the Regions bordering on their Country* 

The Indians in the council at Prairie island, and also 
isson in his speech there, mentioned the baptism of children; tnd 
we may readily believe that it was done by Groseilliers, who dur- 
ing the years" 1641-46 had been a lay helper of the JeSttitl in 

•The Jesuit Relations and Allied Document*, tdtltd bj R 9 Ifcwt M fi 
till., IW, Up, 21» 228. 



their very successful Huron missions. If the "booke of annota- 
tions" by Groseilliers had not been lost, as before related, we 
should doubtless have therein many further details of the year 
spent on Prairie island. 

In comparing the tribal names given by Radissori with those 
in the Jesuit Relation, it is noticeable that the latter is more 
explicit, containing definite information of the Illinois. Sioux, 
Assiniboines. and Crees, who were either unknown or less fully 
known to Radisson, so far as appears in his narration. For 
these tribes the Jesuit writer probably obtained information, as 
the Relation itself indicates, from some of the Indians in the com- 
pany that came with Groseilliers and Radisson, learning more per- 
haps than these French traders knew. Their retinue doubtless 
included Indians who had traveled far beyond their own tribal 
areas, and who might inform the Jesuits concerning the distant 
southern and northern Indians. 

The tribes and bands enumerated by Radisson. excepting 
probably ''the ticacon," had been driven from their former homes 
around lake Huron and at the Sault Ste. Marie, and were doubt- 
less each represented in the large company of refugees, called by 
Perrot the Hurons and Ottawas, who, as he related, fled to the 
Mississippi river and settled temporarily on Prairie island and 
in its vicinity." Before their coming to this upper part of the 
Mississippi, they had visited "the great Nation of the Alimiwec" 
[Liniouek. Illinois], the populous Algonquian tribe of sixty 
villages on the Illinois and Mississippi rivers. f 

When is is remembered that our Frenchmen spent more than 
a year at Prairie island, and that they had "good correspondence" 
and "sent ambassadors to the nations that use to go down to the 
French," it appears possible that there were also some who then 
went for the first time, representatives of the Illinois and of the 
Sioux, Assiniboines, and Crees, coming long distances, respect- 
ively, from the south, west, and north, bringing their furs, and 
joining the retinue of these traders, escorted by the llurons and 
Ottawas, in the long trip east of about two thousand miles. 

It required probably about seven weeks to go from Prairie 
island to Lower Canada; and a longer time was used hi going 
back, propelling the canoes against the current of the Ottawa 

•Memoire. by Nicolas I'orrot, published byTailhan in I8S4, pr H H 
•hJeiuit Relations. toI. xlr., p. 23'> (Relation of 1W» €0) 



and Mattawa rivers, along the shores of Georgian bay, lakes Hu- 
ron and Michigan, and Green bay, and through the Fox and Wis- 
consin rivers, to the Mississippi and the vast western prairies. 

Why were not the names of Groseilliers and Radisson given 
in the Jesuit Relations? Much is told of their expeditions by 
these missionary reports for 1656 and 1660; but their names, 
though surely well known to the Jesuit writer, are not stated. We 
may conjecture that the writer had some distrust of their con- 
tinuing in loyalty to the church or to the government . On their 
part, the brothers-in-law concealed, as much as they could, the 
discoveries that they had made, because, as Radisson says, their 
chief purpose, to reach "the bay of the north," had not been 
attained. They eagerly looked forward to another expedition. 

radisson's excursions in the summer of 1655. 

Here we may conveniently ask, Among what tribes, and 
how far from Prairie island, did Radisson go in his hunting ex- 
cursions with the savages in the summer while Groseilliers was 
raising corn? The account of his wanderings that summer is 
given after the main narration of the expedition and its return, 
and is as follows: 

We weare 4 moneths in our voyage without dceing anything but goe 
from river to river. We mett severall sorts of people. We conversed 
with them, being long time in alliance with them. By the persuasion 01 
som of them we went into the great river that divides itselfe in 2. where 
the hurrons with some Ottanake & the wildmen that had warrs with them 
had retired. There is not great difference in their language, as we wean 
told. This nation have warrs against those of [the] forked river. It is to 
called because it has 2 branches, the one towards the west, the other 
towards the South, which we believe runns towards Mexico, by the tokens 
they gave us. Being amone these people, they told us the pii* ners tin 1 } 
take tells them that they have warrs against a nation, against men thai 
build great cabbans & have great beards & had such knives a; we had. 
Moreover they shewed a Dccad of beads & ginlded pearls that they ha\e 
had from that people, which made us believe they weare Europeans. Thej 
shewed one of that nation that was taken the yeare before V\ 
him not; he was much more tawny than they with whome uo weare H I 
armes & leggs weare turned outside; that was the punishment inflicted 
uppon him. So they doe with them that they take. 81 kill them with i 
L doe often eat them. They doe not burne their prisonen II tin 
northern parts. 


We weare informed of that nation that live in the other river. These 
weare men of extraordinary height & biggnesse, that made us believe they 
had no communication with them. They live onely uppon Corne & Cit- 
rulles [pumpkins], which are mighty bigg. They have fish in plenty 
throughout the yeare. They have fruit as big as the heart of an Oriniak, 
which grows on vast trees which in compasse are three armefull in com- 
passe. When they see litle men they are afraid & cry out, which makes 
many come help them. Their arrows are not of stones as ours are, but of 
fish boans & other boans that they worke greatly, as all other things. 
Their dishes are made of wood. I having scene them, could not but admire 
the curiosity of their worke. They have great calumetts of great stones, 
red and greene. They make a store of tobacco. They have a kind of 
drink that makes them mad for a whole day. This I have not seene, 
therefore you may believe as you please. 

When I came backe I found my brother sick, as I said before. God 
gave him his health, more by his courage then by any good medicine, ffor 
our bodyes are not like those of the wildmen 

It is evident, from this account, that Radisson and his com- 
panions went southeastward and hunted on the east side of the 
Mississippi, going by portages from one river to another until 
they reached the Illinois, ''the great river that divides itself in 
two/' so called apparently because it is formed by the junction of 
the Des Plaines and the Kankakee, each an important canoe 
route. The Jesuit Relation of 1659-60, before cited, informs us 
that the Hurons and Ottawas retreated thither and were kindly 
received by the Illinois tribe, from whom then, and during Rad- 
rsson's hunting trip, might be learned all that he narrates of the 
"forked river'' and the people there and beyond. We should 
accordingly identify the "forked river'' as the Mississippi, run- 
ning on "towards Mexico" after receiving the great Missouri, the 
route of many aboriginal canoe expeditions "towards the west." 
But Groseilliers and Radisson were quite unaware that their own 
river at Prairie island is the main eastern stream of their "forked 
river," being, in its farther course and as to the area of its ba- 
sin, the largest of North America. 

Radisson recorded what he gathered from the Indians of the 
Illinois river concerning those on the Missouri and farther south 
and southwest. Indeed, acording to his OWH narrative of blfl 
captivity among the Iroquois, he had there heard several J ear- 
previously (from an Iroquois who had ranged far and wide ill 
the west, to the same "river that divides Itself in two*') a part of 



the information that he gives as learned in this expedition, of gi- 
gantic men, and of trees that bear fruit as big as the heart of 
an elk, thought by Captain Blakeley to refer to pine cones with 
edible nutlike seeds, which are used as food in Mexico and Cal- 
ifornia. For a full consideration of what Radisson thus learned 
and wrote of the Missouri and the far southwest, see the paper 
by Captain Blakeley in the Collections of this Society. ::: 

It need not cause surprise that Radisson learned much con- 
cerning regions far beyond the limits of his own travels, and 
that he was thereby tempted to add a false year in each of the 
expeditions to the west, telling what he heard from the Indians 
as if it was actually seen by himself. He first learned of the 
Illinois river and of the country beyond while he was a captive 
in the region of central New York. Later he claimed to have 
gone to the Gulf of Mexico, though probably never nearer to 
it than central Illinois ; and, last of all, he claimed to have trav- 
eled from the west part of lake Superior to Hudson bay, though 
probably not advancing so far north as to the northern boundary 
of Minnesota. 

Narrative of the Second Western Expkdition. 

After returning from the west in August, 1656, Grcseilliers 
and Radisson took a period of rest. This was succeeded by Rad- 
isson's expedition with others, Indians and French, to the Onon- 
daga country, which he places as his "second voyage." From 
this absence he returned about the end of March, 165S. After- 
ward, in the latter part of the summer of this year or of the next 
year, 1659, the two brothers-in-law. and a party of returning In- 
dians, again started for the farthest west, with a stock of mer- 
chandise suited for barter in their fur trading. 

The narrative by Radisson very explicitly relates their travcis 
and experiences for two years, which would require their de- 
parture to have been in 1658; for the date of their return, 
known with certainty from several concurring records, WtS in 
August, 1660. But the Relation and Journal of the Jesuits botfi 
indicate that this expedition occupied only one year. Scrutitl 
izing the narrative, with this discrepancy in mind, I am hilly, 

•Vol. fiii.. pp. 31i-330. 



though reluctantly, persuaded that here again Radisson was guilty 
in his writing, as for the preceding western expedition, of fic- 
titiously adding a year, this being from the first spring to the sec- 
ond in his narration, comprising the visit to Hudson bay. The 
numerous reasons for this conclusion will appear as we proceed. 
It is therefore to be understood that the beginning of this expe- 
dition was in August, 1659, soon after a ''company of the Sauk'' 
(Ojibways) arrived at Three Rivers. 

Aillebout, the governor of Quebec, who in 1656 welcomed 
and honored these traders because their enterprise had given new 
courage to the colony, was succeeded in the summer of 1658 by 
Argenson, who held the office three years. He treated Groseilliers 
and Radisson with injustice as to the terms for granting to them 
the requisite official permission or license for this expedition. 
Not daunted, however, they departed at night, disregarding the 
governor's special prohibition, but bearing the good wishes of 
the people and garrison of Three Rivers, voiced by the sentry, 
"God give you a good voyage/' 

The journey up the Ottawa river was enlivened by skir- 
mishes with Iroquois rangers, some being killed on each side, 
which Radisson relates in his fervid style, with many details of 
the wary Indian warfare. After twenty-two days of frequent 
danger, hardship and hunger, the canoe flotilla entered Georgian 
bay of Lake Huron. Radisson says : '"Our equipage and we 
weare ready to wander uppon that sweet sea ; but most of that 
coast is void of wild beasts, so there was great famine amongst 
us for want. Yett the coast afforded us some small fruits. There 
I found the kindnesse & charity of the wildmen, ffor when they 
found any place of any quantity of it [blueberries] they called 
me and my brother to eat & replenish our belly s, shewing them- 
selves far gratfuller then many Christians even to their ovvnc 

Coasting northwestward, they soon came to St. Mary's 
river and falls, still commonly known by the ancient French name. 
Sault Ste. Marie, outflowing from Lake Superior. It appears, 
in Radisson's speaking of the vvhitefish, that Groseilliers and 
himself had never come there previously; but in the first win! 
of the first western expedition they had probably visited the 
Saulteurs (Ojibways) on the south side of lake Superi 
vicinity of Au Train river and bay, due north 1 t Green I I) 11 



a hundred and twenty-five miles west of the Sault. Exactly 
twenty-five years had passed since Jean Xicolet, with his seven 
Huron canoemen, came to the Sault, in the autumn of 1634, 
being the first of Europeans to look on the greatest of our inland 
freshwater seas. Groseilliers and Radisson were now the first 
white men to navigate its length and to travel beyond among the 
tribes of northern Wisconsin and northern Minnesota. 

Ojibways were the escort of the French traders and of the 
Indians from other tribes in this expedition. They had formerly 
lived at the Sault, and hence were called by the French the 
Saulteurs ; but they had been driven away westward by the raids 
of the Iroquois, so that at this time the region was desolate with- 
out inhabitants. The narrative of the arrival and short stay at 
St. Mary's falls is as follows : 

Afterwardes we entered into a straight which had 10 leagues in length, 
full of islands, where we wanted not fish. We came after to a rapid that 
makes the separation of the lake of the hurrons, that we calle Suj 
or upper, for that the wildmen hold it to be longer & broader, besids a 
great many islands which maks appeare in a bigger extent. This rap:. 1 
was formerly the dwelling of those with whome wee weare. and o nse- 
quently we must not aske them if they knew where they have laved. We< 
made cottages att our advantages, and found the truth of what tho-e men 
had often [said], that if once we could come to that place we should make 
good cheare of a fish that they call Assickmack, which signifieth a whtte- 
fish. The bcare. the castors, and the Oriniack shewed themselves often, 
but to their cost: indeed it was to us like a terre-triall paradi>c. After 50 
long fastning. after so great paines that we had taken, hnde ourselves JO 
well by choosing our dyet, and resting when we had a minde to it. 't 
that we must test with pleasur a sweet bitt. We doe not aske for I good 
sauce; it's better to have it naturally; it is the way to distinguish the tweet 
from the bitter. 

But the season was far spent, and use diligence and leave that place M 
wished, which wee shall bewaile. to the coursed IroquOttS. . . .We fell 
that inn without reckoning with our host. It is cheapc when wee arc not 
to put the hand to the purse: nevertheless we must pay out ol cmhty: 
the one gives thanks to the woods, the other to the river, the third to the 
earth, the other to the rocks that staves the ffish. . . . 

As the vovageurs advanced aloug the BOtlth ihore of lake 
Superior. Radisson saw and well remembered all the chief geo- 
graphic features. Of the high sand dunes in the vicinity of the 
Point All Sable, nearly a hundred miles from the Sault. he 
says : 




... we saw banckes of sand so high that one of our wildmen went 
upp for curiositie ; being there, did shew no more than a crow. That place 
is most dangerous when that there is any storme, being no landing place 
so long as the sandy bancks are under water; and when the wind blowes, 
that sand doth rise by a Strang kind of whirling that are able to choake 
the passengers. One day you will see 50 small mountaines att one side, and 
the next day, if the wind changes, on the other side. . .- . 

About fifteen miles farther on, southwestward from the Point 
Au Sable, are the Grand Portal, or Arched Rock, and other 
waterworn cliffs, well described in the narrative. 

After this we came to a remarquable place. It's a banke of Rocks that 
the wildmen made a sacrifice to ; they calls it Nanitoncksinagoit, which sig- 
nifies the likenesse of the devill. They fling much tobacco and other things 
in its" veneration. It is a thing most incredible that that lake should be so 
boisterous, that the waves of it should have the strength to doe what I 
have to say by this my discours : first, that it's so high and soe deepe that 
it's impossible to claime up to the point. There comes many sorte of birds 
that makes there nest here, the goilants, which is a white sea-bird of the 
bignesse of pigeon, which makes me believe what the wildmen told me con- 
cerning the sea to be neare directly to the point. It's like a great Portall. 
by reason of the beating of the waves. The lower part of that oppening is 
as bigg as a tower, and grows bigger in the going up. There is. I believe. 
6 acres of land above it. A shipp of 500 tuns could passe by, soe bigg is 
the arch. I gave it the name of the portall of St. Peter, because my name 
is so called, and that I was the first Christian that ever saw it. There is 
in that place caves very deepe, caused by the same violence. We must" 
looke to ourselves, and take time with our small boats. The coast of rock- 
is 5 or 6 leagues, and there scarce a place to putt a boat in assurance from 
the waves. When the lake is agitated the waves goeth in these concavities 
with force and make a most horrible noise, most like the shooting of great 

Radisson continues with description of the passage across 
the base of the Keweenaw peninsula, which projects fifty miles 
northeasterly into the lake. 

Some dayes afterwards we arrived to a very beautiful] point of Itll I 
where there anj 3 beautifull islands, that we called of the Trinity [now 
called Huron islands] ; there be 3 in triangle. From this place wc dis- 
covered a bay very deepe [Keweenaw bay], where a river empties it selte 
with a noise for the quantitie & dept of the water. Wc must stay there 3 
dayes to wait for faire weather to make the Trainagc, which was about 6 
leagues wide. Soe done, we came to the mouth of a small river, where wc 
killed some Oriniacks. We found meddowi that wen re squared, and 10 
leagues as smooth as a board. Wc went up some 5 lene.ucs further, where 
wc found some pool> made by the castors. Wc must brtakfi them that we 



might passe. The sluce being broaken, what a wounderfull thing to see the 
industrie of that animal, which had drowned more then 20 leagues in the 
grounds, and cutt all the trees, having left non to make a fire if the 
countrey should be dried up. Being come to the height, we must drague 

our boats over a trembling ground for the space of an hcure 

Having passed that place, we made a carriage through the land for 2 
leagues. The way was well beaten because of the commers and goers, 
who by making that passage shortens their passage by 8 dayes by touraing 
about the point that goes very farr in that great lake, that is to say, 5 to 
come to the point, and 3 for to come to the landing of that place of car- 
iage. In the end of that point, that goeth very farre, there is an isle, as I 
was told, all of copper. This I have not seene. They say that from the isle 
of copper, which is a league in the lake, when they are minded to thwart it 
in a faire and calme wether, beginning from sun rising to sun sett, they come 
to a great island [Isle Royale], from whence they come the next morning 
to firme lande att the other side; so by reason of 20 leagues a day that lake 
should be broad of 6 score and 10 leagues. The wildmen doe not much 
lesse when the weather is faire. 

Isle Royale is plainly visible from the high Keweenaw pen- 
insula; and it soon came into full view to the toiling Indians in 
their canoes. The distance is only forty-five or fifty miles, and 
was passed over without difficulty in the fifteen hours, more or 
less, of a long summer day. What Radisson meant in computing 
the distance of 130 leagues is not evident. Twenty leagues, 
which he estimates for one day's canoeing, from Keweenaw point 
to Isle Royale, are fifty-five miles, the common league of France 
being 2.76 English miles. Parties of Ojibways were accustomed, 
as he says, to make this passage across the lake, but only in fa- 
vorable weather and to accomplish it in a single day. lest in 
a cloudy day or by night they should miss the right course, or 
lest in storms their light birch bark canoes should be swamped 
by high waves. Nor need we doubt even that the Crees, in their 
smaller canoes, could do the same, for they crossed from the 
Bayfield peninsula to the north shore near the present town o: 
Two Harbors, as narrated later, which is half as far. 

After five days of canoeing beyond the Keweenaw portage, 
Groseilliers and Radisson, with their company of Ojibways, 
Hurons and Ottawas, came to a camp of Crees on the lake shore, 
who gladly welcomed them on account 01 their French merchan- 
dise. Somewhat farther on. at the Montreal river, man) oi ti 

company, apparently Ojibways, turned their CtllOea ttp thai riser, 
leaving, however, a large flotilla to continue westward along the 



lake coast. Half a clay's journey then brought the French traders, 
with their Indian escort and retinue of the various tribes, to 
Chequaniegon bay, which became their base for departure inland 
and for return after their winter travels and trade. 


Resuming the narrative at the Montreal river, we learn soon 
of the earliest dwelling built by white men on the shores of lake 
Superior, a rude palisade with a covering of boughs. The nar- 
rative runs thus : 

. . . Many of our wildmen went to win the shortest way to their na- 
tion, and weare then 3 and 20 boats, for we mett with some in that lake 
that joyned with us, and came to keepe us company, in hopes to gctt knives 
from us, which they love better than we serve God, which should make us 
blush for shame. Seaven boats stayed of the nation of the Sault. We 
went on half a day before we could come to the landing place, and wear 
forced to make another carriage a point of 2 leagues long and some 60 
paces broad. As we came to the other sid we weare in a bay of 10 league? 
about, if we had gone in. Bv goeing about that same point we passed a 
straight, for that point was very nigh the other side, which is a cape ver;. 
much elevated like piramides. That point should be very fitt to build & 
advantageous for the building of a fort, as we did the spring following. 
In that bay there is a chanel J where we take great store of fishes Stur- 
geons of a vast biggne^>e, and Pycks of seaven foot long. Att the end of 
this bay we landed. The wildmen gave thanks to that winch they worship, 
we to God of Gods, to see ourselves in a place where we must leave our 
navigation and forsake our boats to undertake a harder pecce of worke ill 
hand, to which we are forced. The men [Hurons returning] told US that 
wee had 5 great dayes' journeys before we should arrive where their wives 
weare. We foresee the hard task that we weare to undergoe by carrying 
our bundles uppon our backs. They weare u^ed to it. Here every one 
himselfe & God for all. 

We finding ourselves not able to perform such a ta^ke. & they COttldC 
not well tell where to finde their wi\es, fearing least the Nadoiteceronons 
had warrs against their nation and forced them from their appointed place, 
my brother and I we consulted what was best to doe. and declared our irill 
to them, which \va> thus: '"Brethren, we resolve to stay hero, being not 

accustomed to make any cariage on our backs as yce are wont Goc pee 

and looke for your wives. We will build US a fort here And seeinc fOU 
are not able to carry all your merchandizes att once, we will kecue them 
for you ,and will stay for you 14 dayes. Before the tune eXfMFtd JTOU will 
vend to us if your wives be alive, and if you find them they will fetch what 
you leave here & what we have; fTor their paincs they shall receive puifts 
of us. Soe you will see us in your countrey. If they be dead, Wi will 
spend all to be revenged, and will gather up the whole COtMtft) t I tl I 



next spring, for that purpose to destroy those that weare the causers of 
their death, and you shall see our strength and vallour. Although there 
are seaven thousand righting men in one village, you'll see we will make 
them runne away, & you shall kill them to your best liking by the very 
noise of our armes and our presence, who are the Gods of the earth among 
those people.'' 

They woundered very much att our resolution. The next day they went 
their way and we stay for our assurance in the midst of many nations, 
being but two almost starved for want of food. We went about to make 
a fort of stakes, which was in this manner. Suppose that the watter side 
had ben in one end : att the same end there should be murtherers, and att 
need we made a bastion in a triangle to defend us from assault. The doore 
was neare the watter side, our fire was in the midle. and our bed on the 
right hand, covered. There weare boughs of trees all about our fort laved 
a crosse, one uppon an other. Besides these boughs we had a long core 
tyed with some small bells, which weare senteryes. Finally, we made an 
end of that fort in 2 dayes' time. We made an end of some fish that we 
putt by for neede. But as soone as we are lodged we went to fish for more 
whilst the other kept the house. I was the fittest to goe out. being yongest 
I tooke my gunne and goes where I never was before, so I choosed not one 
way before another. I went to the wood some 3 or 4 miles. I find a 
small brooke, where T walked by the sid awhile, which brought me into 
meddowes. There was a poole where weare a good store of bustards. I 
began to creepe though I might come neare. Thought to be in Canaca. 
where the fowle is scared away; but the poore creature-, -eeing me Batt 
uppon the ground, thought I was a beast as well as they. 50 they come neare 
me, whisling like gosslings, thinking to frighten me. The whistling that I 
made them heare was another musick then theirs. There I killed 3 and 
the rest scared, which neverthelesse came to that place againe to see wk.: 
sudaine sicknesse befeled their comrads. I shott againe; two payed for 
their curiositie. .... 

There we stayed still full 12 dayes without any news, but wc had the 
company of other wildmen of other countreys that came to us admiring 
our fort and the workmaushipp. We suffered non to goe in but one person, 
and liked it so much the better, & often dur>t not goe in, ^o much they 
stood in feare of our armes, that weare in good order, which weare 5 gun-, 
two musquetons. 3 fowling-pieces, 3 paire of great ptStolettS, and 2 paire 
of pockett ons, and every one his sword and daggar. So that we might say 

that a Coward was not well enough armed 

The 12th day we perceived afarr oft some 50 JOftg men coming 
towards us, with some of our forme-t compagnions. We gave them leave 
to conic into our fort, but they are astomed. calling Ul every loot deuiU to 
have made such a machine. They brought 11* victuallt, thinking VTC wc.irc 
halfe starved, but weare mightily mi-taken, for w c ttad more fof : hem then 
they weare able to eate. having 3 ICON butttrdl ami many Rtckl where 
was meate hanged plentifully. They offered to carry oui hacvMcc. Scins 
come z purpose; but we had not so much niarclumh.-e M irhtfl tfl | in 
from us, because we hid lOffM of them, that they might n M h.uc HUmciOO 



of us. We told them that for feare of the dayly multitud of people that 
came to see us, for to have our goods, would kill us. We therefore tooke 
a boat and putt into it our marchandises ; this we brought farre into the 
bay, where we sunke them, biding our devill not to lett them to be wett nor 
rusted, nor suffer them to be taken away, which he promised faithlesse that 
we should retourne and take them out of his hands ; att which they weare 
astonished, believing it to be true as the Christians the Gospell. We hid 
them in the ground on the other sid of the river in a peece of ground. We 
told them that lye that they should not have suspicion of us. ... . We 
weare Cesars, being nobody to contradict us. We went away free from 
any burden, whilst those poore miserable thought themselves happy to 
carry our Equipage, for the hope that they had that we should give them 
a brasse ring, or an awle, or an needle. 

There came above foure hundred persons to see us goe away from 
that place, which admired more our actions [than] the fools of Paris to see 
enter their King and the Infanta of Spaine, his spouse; for they cry out 
"God save the King and Queene!" Those made horrid noise, and called 
Gods and Devills of the Earth and heavens. We marched foure dayes 
through the woods. The countrcy is beautifull. with very few mountaines. 
the woods cieare. Att last we came within a league of the Cabbans. 
where we layed that the next day might be for our entrey. We 2 poore 
adventurers for the honour of our countrey, or of those that shall deserve 
it from that day; the nimblest and stoutest went before to warne before 
the people that we should make our entry to-morrow. Every one prepares 
to see what they never before have scene. We weare in cottages which 
weare neare a litle lake some 8 leagues in circuit. Att the watterside there 
weare abundance of litle boats made of trees- that they have hollowed, and 
of rind. 

This lake is thought by Father Chrysostom Yerwyst to be 
Lac Courte Oreille, one of the northwestern sources of the Chip- 
pewa river in northern Wisconsin, nearly sixty miles south-south- 
west of Chequamegon bay. It is still called Ottawa lake by the 
Ojibways, who have a tradition that very long ago Ottawas died 
there of starvation. The tradition has probably been passe I 
along nearly two centuries and a half, from the terrible winter of 
1659-60, to be described by Radisson. when these explorers and 
the Indians of this region suffered for several weeks a frightful 

The narrative, referring still to the "litle boats." continues: 

The next day we weare to ombarqne in them, and arrived att the vil- 
lage by watter, which was composed of a hundred calv.ns without pai- 
lasados. There is nothing hut etyes. . . . Wo destinated 3 presents, one 
for the men, one for the women, and the other for the children, to the end 
that they should remember that journey ; that wc should be spoaken of a 



hundred years after, if other Europeans should not come in those quarters 
and be liberal to them, which will hardly come to passe. . . . The 3rd 
guift was of brasse rings, of small bells, and rasades of divers contours, 
and given in this manner. We sent a man to make all the children come 
together. When they weare there we throw these things over their heads. 
You would admire what a beat was among them, everyone striving to 
have the best. This was done uppon this consideration, that they should be 
allwayes under our protection, giving them wherewithal] to make them 
merry & remember us when they should be men. 

This done, we are called to the Councell of welcome and to the feast 
of ffriendshipp. afterwards to the dancing of the heads ; but before the 
dancing we must mourne for the deceased, and then, for to forgett ail 
sorrow, to the dance. We gave them foure small guifts that they should 
continue such ceremonyes, which they tooke willingly and did us good, 
that gave us authority among the whole nation. We knewed their coun- 
cels, and made them doe whatsoever we thought best. This was a great 
advantage for us, you must think. Amongst such a rowish kind of people 
a guift is much, and well bestowed, and liberality much esteemed ; but not 
prodigalitie is not in esteeme, for they abuse it, being brutish. Wee have 
ben useing such ceremonyes 3 whole dayes, & weare lodged in the cabbaii 
of the chiefest captayne, who came with us from the rlrench. We liked 
not the company of that blind, therefore left him. He wondred at this, but 
durst not speake, because we weare dcmi-gods. We came to a cottage or 
an ancient witty man, that had had a great familie and many children, his 
wife old, neverthelesse handsome. They weare of a nation called Malhon- 
mines ; that is, the nation of Oats, graine that is much in that countrey. 
Of this afterwards more att large. I tooke this man for my (father and 
the woman for my mother, soe the children consequently brother- and 
sisters. They adopted me. I gave every one a guift. and they to mee, 


Large numbers of the Huron and Ottawa exiles, flying be- 
fore the Iroquois and seeking refuge first in the country of the 
Illinois and later on Prairie island, had. within the three years 
since the first western expedition of Groseilliers and Radisson, been 
driven from that island by new enemies, the fierce Sioux I t 
the neighbouring forest and prairie country on the north and west, 
and had again removed, following the Chippewa river of \A is- 
consin to its sources, or, more probably, coming there by the 
equally direct route of the St. Croix river. PeiTOt, in his Memoir 

(p. 87), states that the Eiurons and Ottawa*, after leaving Prairie 

island, went up the Black river to its source, and that there the 
Hnrons established for themselves a fortified vilh.Lrc. while the 

Ottawas advanced to Chequamegon bay. Perhaps tlie Black t \ r 



was the route of the Ottawas ; but the Hurons appear to have 
taken a northward course from Prairie island, ascending the 
St. Croix. Radisson's narrative certainly shows that the main 
settlement of the Hurons in 1659 was considerably north of the 
source of Black river, being instead on the headwaters of the 
Chippewa, according .to Father Verwyst, in the vicinity of Lae 
Courte Oreille and the numerous other lakes south and east of 
Hayward in Sawyer county, Wisconsin. The acquaintance of the 
Hurons with a proposed rendezvous in the country of the Sioux., 
west of the St. Croix, implies that in their journeying northward 
many of their people had seen the place which was thus selected 
for their meeting in the midwinter. The march from Che- 
quamegon bay. "four days through the woods," arriving at the 
chief Huron village on a lake "some eight leagues in circuit." 
agrees very well with Yerwyst's identification of their locality. 

In that wooded country, to which the Hurons had come so 
very recently, little had yet been done in raising corn. The poor 
fugitives had no Groseilliers during the preceding summer to urge 
the necessity of providing corn for their chief subsistence through 
the long, cold winter, when game and fish might be scarce. If any 
reader has thought that Longfellow in the most American poem 
of all our literature, "The Song of Hiawatha. * overdrew the hor- 
ror of famine and starvation which sometimes befall the Indians 
in winter, let him listen to Radisson's pathetic narration. 

Having so disposed of our buissines^e, the winter comes on. that warns 
us; the snow begins to fall, soe we must retire from the place to -eeke OUT 
living in the woods. Every one getts his equipage ready. So away wt goe, 
but net all to the same place; two. three att the most, wont one way. and 
so of an other. They have so done because victuals wcare scrmt tor all in 
a place. But lett us where we will, we cannot escape the myghty hand of 
God, that disposes as he pleases and who chastes US as a g<x>d & a com- 
mon loving Rather, and not as our -ins doe deserve. Finaly wee depart 
one from an ether. As many as we wearc in number, we are reduced to .1 
small company. We appointed a rendezvous after two months and a halt, 
to take a new road & an advice what we should doe. During the Mid 
terme we sent mv<sengers everywhere, to give special! notice to all man- 
ner of por>ons and nation that within 5 RIOOM the fctsl of death Wtl to 
be celebrated, run; that we should apeare together and explain* what the 
devill should command US to say. and then present them present- of peace 
and union. Xow we mu-t live on whal God -end-, and wane Igjuiis! the 
bears in the meane tune, tor we could time itt nothing else, which waatfcl 
cause that we had no great cheare. . . . We heated Jowuo the wo.dt 



dayly for to discover novelties. We killed severall other beasts, as Orin- 
iacks, staggs. wild cows, Carriboueks, fallow does 'and bucks, Catts of 
mountains, child of the Deviil ; in a word, we lead a good life. The snow- 
increases dayly. There we make raketts, not to play att ball, but to exer- 
cise ourselves in a game harder and more necessary. They are broad, 
made like racketts, that they may goe in the snow and not sinke when they 
runne after the eland or other beast. 

We are come to the small lake, the place of rendezvous, where we 
found some company that weare there before us. We cottage ourselves, 
staying for the rest, that came every day. We stayed 14 dayes in this 
place most miserable, like to a churchyard ; ffcr there did fall such a 
quantity of snow and frost, and with such a thick mist, that all the snow 
stoocke to those trees that are there so ruffe, being deal trees, prusse ce- 
dars, and thorns, that caused that darknesse uppon the earth that it is to be 
believed that the sun was eclipsed them 2 months ; fTor after the trees weare 
so laden with snow that fel'd afterwards, was as if it had been sifted, so 
by that means very light and not able to beare us, albeit we made rackeits 
of 6 foot long and a foot and a halfe broad; so often thinking to tourne 
ourselves we felld over and over againe in the snow, and if we weare 
alone we should have difficultie enough to rise againe. By the noyse we 
made, the Beasts heard us a great way off : so the famine was among great 
many that had not provided before hand, and live upon what they gett that 
day, never thinking for the next. It grows wors and wcrs dayly. 

To augument our misery we receive news of the Octanaks, who weare 
about a hundred and fifty, with their families. They had a quarrell with 
the hurrons in the Isle where we had come from some years before in the 
lake of the stairing hairs [Bois Blanc island, as identified by Campbell, in 
'ake Huron], and came purposely to make warres against them the next 
summer. But lett us see if they brought us anything to subsist withall. 
But are' worst provided then we ; having no huntsmen, they are reduced 
to famine. But, O cursed covetousnesse, what art thou going to doer- 
It should be farr better to see a company of Rogues perish then see our- 
selves in danger to perish by that scourg so cruell. Hearing that they 
have had knives and hattchetts. the victualls of their poore children is 
taken away from them; yea, whatever they. have, those doggs must have 
their share. They are the coursede<t. unablest. the unfamous 81 COwarl 1 i\ 
people that I have scene amongst fower score nations that I have frequent- 
ed. O yee poore people, you shall have their booty, but you >hal! pay 
dearly for it! Everyone cryCs out for hungar; the women become tnffeQi 
and drie like wood. You men must eate the cord, being you have n;> more 
strength to make use of tne bow. Children, you must die. ffrench. you 
called yourselves Gods of the earth, that yon should be feared, for fOOC 
• merest; notwithstanding you shall ta>t of the bitterne>-e. and to.) happy 
if you escape. . . .Oh! if the musick that we luare COUld pvc III re- 
creation, we wanted not any lamentable HtttSIck nor ltd ipectaclc. In 
morning the husband looks uppon at* wife, the Brother hi- litter, 
COZen the cozen, the Onele the ncvew. that weare for tin- 010*1 part found 

dcade. They Languish with cryts & hideous noise that it arts able to nul>e 


the haire starre on the heads that have any apprehension. Good God. have 
mercy on so many poore innocent people, and of us that acknowledge thee, 
that having offended thee punishes us. But wee are not free of that cruel! 
Executioner. Those that have any life seeketh out for roots, which could 
not be done without great difficultie. the earth being frozen 2 or 3 f 
deepe, and the snow 5 or 6 above it. The greatest susibstance that we 
' can have is of rind tree which growes like ivie about the trees ; but to 
swallow it, we cutt the stick some 2 foot long, tying it in faggott. in I 
boyle it, and when it boyles one houre or two the rind or skinne comes 
off with ease, which we take and drie it in the smoake and then reduce it 
into powder betwixt two graine-stoans, and putting the kettle with the 
same watter uppon the fire, we make it a kind of broath, which nourished 
us, but becam thirstier and drier then the woode we eate. 

The 2 first weeke we did eate our doggs. ... in the next piace. tl 
skins that weare reserved to make us shoose, cloath, snd stokins. ye?., 
most of the skins of our cottages, the castors' skins. . . . We burned 
the haire on the coals; the rest goes downe throats, eating heartily these 
things most abhorred. We went so eagerly to it that our gumms did 
bleede like one newly wounded. The wood was our food the rest of 
sorrowfull time. Finaly we became the very Image of death. We mis- 
took ourselves very often, taking the living for the dead and the dead for 
the living. We wanted strength to draw the living out of the cabans. or 
if we did when we could, it was to putt them four paces in the snow. Att 
the end the wrath of God begins to appease itselfe, and pityes his poore 
creatures. If I should expresse all that befell us in that strange accic\ 
a great volume would not containe it. Here are above 500 dead. met-., 
women, and children. It's time to come out of such miseryes. Our bod; 
are not able to hold out any further. 

After the storme, calme comes. But stormes favoured us. being that 
calme kills us. Here comes a wind and raine that putts a new life in us. 
The snow falls, the forest cleers itselfe, att which sight those that had 
strings left in their bowes takes courage to use it. The weather con- 
tinued so 3 dayes that we needed no racketts more, for the snow hard- 
ened much. The small staggs are [as] if they weare stakes in it after they 
made 7 or 8 capers. It's an easy matter for us to take them and cutt their 
throats with our knives. Now we see ourselves a litte fournished. hut yet* 
have not payed, ft'or it cost many their lives. Our gutts became very 
straight by our long fasting, that they could not containe the quantity f . 
some putt in them. I cannot omitt the pleasant thought? of sonic 
them wildmen. Seeing my brother allwayes in the same condition, 
said that some Dcvill brought him wherewithal] to eate; but it they hi 
seene his body they should be of another opinion. The heard thai COfCfCd 
his face made as if ho had not altered his face. For me that had no beard, 
they said I loved them, because I lived as well a^ they. From th< 
day wc began to walke. 

There came 2 men from a strange countrey who had a dogg ; the buiss- 
inesse was how to catch him cunningly, knowing well thOM people love 

their beasts. Xeverthelestc wee off red gut ft s, hut they kooM aot, « 



made me stubborne. That dogge was very !eane, and as hungry as we 
wearc, but the masters have not suffered so much. I went one night 
neere that same cottage to doe what discretion permitts me not to speak?. 
Those men weare Nadoneseronons. They weare much respected th;it 
no body durst not offend them, being that we weare uppon their land with 
their leave. The dogg comes out, not by any smell, but by good like. I 
take him and bring him a litle way. I stabbed him with my dagger. I 
brought him to the cottage, where [he] was broyled like a pigge and cutt 
in peeces, gutts and all. soe every one of the family had his share. The 
snow where he was killed was not lost; ffor one of our company went and 
gott it to season the kettles. We began to looke better dayly. We gave 
the rendezvous to the convenientest place to celebrat that great feast. 

The narration shows that the winter began while Groseilliers 
and Radisson were guests, as we may say, of the Huron and 
Menominee Indians, probably at Lac Courte Oreille, near Hay- 
ward, Wisconsin. The first snowfall, and the ensuing separation 
of the Indians into parties of two or three for procuring sus- 
tenance by hunting, took place, as we must suppose, in the later 
part of October or early November, 1659. Two months and a 
half later, that is, at some time shortly after New Year's day of 
1660, they came together at a "small lake, the place of rendez- 

This place was in the country of the Sioux, as Radisson 
tells us ; and apparently from its vicinity, as he also says later, 
Groseilliers and Radisson went in seven days' travel to visit the 
prairie Sioux. To meet these conditions, I think that the ap- 
pointed rendezvous, where severe famine prevailed, was at or 
not far distant from Knife lake, in Kanabec county, Minnesota, 
about fifteen miles southeast from Mille Lacs. Knife lake de- 
rived its name, as shown by Hon. J. V. B rower (in Kathio, 1001. 
P a £ e 43 )> from the first acquirement of steel knives there by 
the Isanti or Knife Sioux, probably in their dealings at this time 
with Groseilliers and Radisson and with the Hurons and Ottawas 
of their company. It is about ninety miles west of Lac Courte 
Oreille, and all the intervening country was gooil hunting ground, 
probably then, as later, a neutral and usually uninhabited trie:, 
between the Sioux and their eastern neighb Knife lake 

southwestward to the broad prairie region oi the MiniM 
where the prairie Sioux ( the Tintonwans) lived, is Only a hundred 
and twenty-five miles in a straight line, or somewhat farther, 
about seven days' travel by canoeing, I 1 In a land march late m 



winter, down the St. Croix or the Rum river to the Mississippi 
and up the Minnesota river. If, as is here supposed. Knife lake 
was the rendezvous, it was previously known and had been vis- 
ited by these Hurons, which they might have done in connection 
with their journey from Prairie island up the St. Croix to the 
lakes of northwestern Wisconsin. 

After the Indians had gathered at the rendezvous, little 
game could be captured, the snow being five or six feet deep, 
for the subsistence of the large company, who numbered probably 
a thousand or more. During two weeks a most direful famine 
prevailed, which was made worse by the arrival of about a hun- 
dred and fifty Ottawas with their families. Though these In- 
dians brought little or no food, and were themselves starving be- 
fore their arrival, they received a share of the scanty provisions 
and game of the Hurons, to whom they bartered the highly val- 
ued iron and steel knives and hatchets which they had obtained 
in trade from the French. With the assemblage thus increased 
to a total of probably fifteen hundred men, women and children, 
terrible starvation followed. They were obliged even to make a 
thin soup from their beaver skins. The ''greatest subsistence." 
however, which was known to these Indians for such times of 
starvation, was a broth or soup made from the boiled, smoked, 
and powdered bark of a "rind tree which grows like ivie about 
the trees." evidently the climbing bittersweet (Celastrns scan- 
dens, L.). This shrub, climbing around the trunks of tree<. is 
common in woodlands throughout Wisconsin and Minnesota, ex- 
cepting the extreme northern part of this state, north and north- 
west of lake Superior. In these dreadful straits of famine more 
than five hundred died, as Radisson tells us; and lie and his 
brother-in-law only narrowly escaped from death. 


Continuing his narration. Radisson gives a very interesting 
account of a visit by eight men of the Sioux, probably of the Isan- 
ti tribe living around Mills Lacs, and sixteen women hearing gifts, 
who came to Groseilliers and himself while thev were still living 
apparently with the Hurons in the vicinity of Knife lake. This 

very remarkable visit and its ceremonies, with gifts, between the 

Sioux and the French traders, became probably the Origin of 



the names of Knife lake and river, and of this Isanti or Knife 
branch of the great Sioux nation or group of many tribes. 

The time of the visit of these twenty-four Sioux is stated 
to have been "some two moons" after the famine : and again it 
is said that the grain brought by the visitors would have been 
welcome a month or two earlier. Accordingly we must consider 
the date of the visit and eight days of feasting with the Sioux to 
have been in the first half of March, or about then, ending near 
the middle of this month, in 1660. So many other proceedings are 
told, with allowances of time, for the latter part of the cold season, 
before the ice wholly disappeared from the west end of lake Su- 
perior, that it is necessary to assign as short estimates of time 
throughout as seem compatible with the successive parts of the 
narrative. This part runs as follows: 

Some 2 moons after there came 8 ambassadors from the nation of 
Nadcneseronons, that we will call now the Nation of the beefe. Those 
men each had 2 wives. loadened of Oats, corne [wild rice] that growes in 
that countrey, of a small quantity of Indian Corne, with other grains. &. 
it was to present to us, which we received as a great favour &; token of 
friendshippe ; but it had been welcome if they had brought it a month or 
two before. They made great ceremonys in greasing our feete and leggs, 
and we painted them with red. They stript us naked and putt uppon us 
cloath of buffe and of white castors. After this they weeped uppon our 
heads untill we weare wetted by their tears, and made us smoake in their 
pipes after they kindled them. It was not in common pipes, but in pipes 
of peace and of tiie warrs, that they pull out but very seldom, when there is 
occasion for heaven and earth. This done, they perfumed our doaths nd 
armour one after another, and to conclude did throw a great quantity of 
tobbacco into the tire. We told them that they prevented us. for letting 
us know that all persons of their nation came to visite us. that we might 
dispose of them. 

The next morning they weare called by our Interpret. ->r. We under- 
stood not a word of their language, being quit contrary to those thai we 
weare with. They are arrived, they downe. We made a place for US 
more elevated, to be more att our ease & to appeare in more Hale. We 
!>orrowed their Calumet, saving that we are in their Countrey, and that 
it was not lavvfull for us to carry anything out of our countrey. That 
pipe is of a red stone, as biggc as a fi-t and is long a- a hand 1 he HuMl 
reede as long as five toot, in breadth, and of the thickness* ol a thumb. 
There is tyed t<> it the tayle of an eagle all paillted over with >everail coul- 
OUrs and open like a fan, or like that winch makes a kind of a whee'e 

when he shuts; below the toppe of the steeke i> covered with feathers ol 

ducks and other birds that are of a tine collour. Wo tOOke the taylr of 
the eagle, and instead of it we hung [J Iron bowi in the MOM manner as 
the feathers weare. and a blade about it along the Staff*, a htfttchttl pUftft- 


ed in the ground, and that calumet over it, and all our armours about it 
uppon forks. Every one smoaked his pipe of tobacco, nor they never goe 
without it. During that while there was a great silence. We prepared 
some powder that was litle wetted, and the good powder was precious to 
us. Our Interpreter told them in our name. "Brethren, we have accepted 
of your guifts. Yee are called here to know our will and pleasui that is 
such : first, we take you for our brethren by taking you into our protection, 
and for to shew you, we, instead of the eagles' tayle, have putt some of our 
armours, to the end that no ennemy shall approach it to breake the amnitie 
that we make now with you." Then we tooke the 12 Iron off- the bowes 
and lift them up, telling them those points shall passe over the whole world 
to defend and destroy your ennemyes, that are ours. Then we putt the 
Irons in the same place againe. Then we tooke the sword and bad them 
have good courage, that by our means they should vanquish their Ennemy. 
After we tooke the hattchett that was planted in the ground, we tourned 
round about, telling them that we should kill those that would war re 
against them, and that we would make forts that they should come with 
more assurance to the feast of the dead. That done, we throw powder in 
the fire, that had more strength then we thought; it made the brands fly 
from one side to the other. We intended to make them believe that it 
was some of our Tobacco, and make them smoake as they made us smoake. 
But hearing such a noise, and they seeing that fire fled of every side, with- 
out any further delay or looke for so much time as looke for the dore of 
the cottage, one runne one way, another an other way flor they never saw 
a sacrifice of tobacco so violent. They went all away, and we onely stayed 
in the place. We followed them to reassure them of their fainting?. We 
visited them in their appartments, where they received [us] all trembling 
for feare, believing realy by that same meanes that we weare the Devils 
of the earth. There was nothing but feasting for 8 dayes. 

Soon after the earliest snowfall in the autumn, Groseilliers 
and Radisson had "sent messengers everywhere*' among - the Da- 
kota or Siouan tribes, inviting them to meet for a great celebra- 
tion of a ceremonial feast within five months, that is, at the open- 
ing of spring, when the French traders would give ''presents of 
peace and union." At the rendezvous for the midwinter, sup- 
posed to be Knife lake, two Sioux had come to Groseilliers, Rad- 
isson, and the.Hurons, in their temporary encampment, before the 
end of the time of famine; and to these Sioux envoys they had 
given "the rendezvous to the convenientest place to celebrate that 
great feast." The later coming of the eight men and sixteen 
women of the Sioux was a preliminary of the convention of dele- 
gations from all the Sioux tribes, called by Rj Jitcen 
several nations," for the feast ami parades to which thev had 
been looking forward, with elaborate preparations and training, 
through all the winter. 



The French traders designed, on their part, to make this 
celebration of feasting and spectacular exhibitions an occasion 
long to be remembered by all these Indians as the first time 
when they were witnesses of the superiority of the French, with 
their firearms, iron kettles, steel hatchets and knives, awls and 
needles, glass and tin-plated ornaments, etc. It was to be the 
beginning of a profitable fur trade for themselves, and for their 
successors during the future years. Prestige for France in her 
expected sway over these savage tribes was here to be estab- 
lished, somewhat as Jean Nicolet twenty-five years before had 
won the admiration, confidence, and commercial allegiance of the 
Winnebago Indians in eastern Wisconsin. 

Some small tract of prairie, or of land cleared for cultivation, 
in the midst of the generally wooded country surrounding the 
former rendezvous, which we have identified as near Knife lake, 
was chosen by Groseilliers and Radisson, with their two Sioux 
visitors in January, to be the scene of the grand celebration in the 
spring. There a large area was paced out and was called a fort, 
where the tepees of the encamping Sioux could be seen from a 
long distance as they were approached across a meadow that ex- 
tended along the course of a brook "more than four leagues.*' 

After a few days of ceremonies, speech-making, feasting, 
and bestowal of gifts, it was decided to invite also the Crees, of 
whom a large party were known to be encamped at the distance 
of two days' journey northward. About fifty of the Indians, and 
Radisson with them, went therefore to this temporarv Cree vil- 
lage, to extend the invitation; and meanwhile many Indians from 
all the region flocked to the place of the grand celebration to see 
"those two redoubted nations'' meet for friendly rivalry in feata 
of strength, agility, and skill, and in dancing and music. 

Probably about three weeks were occupied in the various 
ceremonies and festivities, from the time when the rcpTCS 
tives of eighteen tribes of the Sioux first arrived, until the dose 
of the feast, when "every one returns to his country well satis- 
fied." The whole celebration thus extended, W think, ap- 
proximately from the middle of March to the first week of Apr.!. 
It was a very great event for the Sioux, who then, in their many 
tribes and bands, inhabited the greater part of the present state 
of Minnesota. Its story is appreciatively told by Radisson as 
follows, continuing directly from our last foregoing quotation: 



The time was now nigh that we must goe to the rendezvous; this was 
betwixt a small lake and a medow. Being arrived, most of ours [the 
Hurotis] weare allready in their cottages. In 3 dayes' time thtre arrived 
eighten severall nations, and came privately, to have done the sooner. A: 
we became to the number of 500. we held a councell. Then the sh 
and cryes and the encouragements weare proclaimed, that a fort should be 
builded. They went about the worke and made a large fort. It was about 
603 score paces in lenght and Cxx> in breadth, so that it was a square. 
There we had a brooke that came from the lake and emptied ftselfe in 
those medows. which had more than foure leagues in lenght. Our fort 
might be seene afar off. and on that side most delight full, for the grea: 
many stagges that tooke the boldnesse to be carried by quarters where att 
other times they made good cheare. 

In two dayes this was finished. Soon 30 yong men of the nation of 
the beefe arrived there, having nothing but bows and arrows, with very 
short garments, to l>e the nimbler in chasing the stagges. The Iron of 
their arrows weare made of staggs' pointed horens very neatly. They 
weare all proper men. and dressed with paint. They weare the discoverers 
and the foreguard. We kept a round place in the midle of our Cabban and 
covered it with long po'cs with skins over them, that we might have a 
shelter to keepe us from the snow. The cottages weare all in good order: 
in each 10, twelve companies or families. That company was brought to 
that place where there was wood layd for the fires. The -now was taken 
away, and the earth covered with dealc tree bows. Severall kettles weare 
brought there full of meate. They rested and eat above 5 houres without 
speaking one to another. The ccnsiderablest of our companye< went and 
made speeches to them. After one takes his bow and shoots an arrow, and 
then cryes aloud, there speaks some few words, saying that they weare to 
lett them know the E!der> of their village weare to come the morrow u 
renew the friendship and to make it with the ffrench, and that a great 
many of their yong people came and brought them some part of their 
wayes to take their advice, flfor they had a minde to goe against the Chri-- 
tinos, who weare ready for them, and they in like manner to -avc the: 
wives & children. They weare scattered in many Cabbans that night, ex- 
pecting those that weare to come. To that purpose there was a vast large 
place prepared some hundred paces from the fort, where everything was 
ready for the receiving of those persons. They weare to sett their ten:-, 
that they bring uppou their hack-. The pcarchc- were putt out and planted 
as we received the news: the -now putt a-idc. and the boughs of trees 
covered the ground. 

The day following they arrived with an incredible pomp. This made 
me thinke of the Intraucc that the Polander* did in Pari*. <aving that they 
had not so many Jewells, but instead of them they had 10 many feather-. 
The {first weare yong people with their hows and arrow- and P.nokler on 
their shoulder-. llppcil which weare represented all manner of figure-, 
according to. their knowledge, a- of the sun ami moone. of terrestrial] 

beasts, about it- feathers very artificialy painted. Mo-t of the men theu 



faces weare all over dabbed with several collours. Their hair turned up 
like a Crowne, and weare cutt very even, but rather so burned, for the fir- 
is their cicers. They leave a tuff of haire upon their Crowne of their heads, 
tye it, and putt att the end of it some small pearles or some Turkey stones 
[turquoise], to bind their heads. They have a role commonly made of a 
snake's skin, where they tye several! bears' paws, or give a forme to some 
bitts of buff's horns, and put it about the said role. They grease them- 
selves with very thick grease. & mingle it in reddish earth, which they 
■bourne, as we our breeks. With this stuffe they gett their haire to stand 
up. They cutt seme downe of Swan or other fowle that hath a white feath- 
er, and cover with it the crowne of their heads. Their ears are pierced in 
5 places ; the holes are so bigg that your little finger might passe through. 
They have yallow waire that they make with copper, made like a starr or 
a half mcone, & there hang it. Many have Turkeys [turquoises]. They 
are cloathed with Oriniack & stagg's skins, but very light. Every one had 
the skin of a crow hanging att their guirdles. Their stokens all inbrodered 
with pearles and with their own porke-pick worke. They have very 
handsome shoose laced very thick all over with a peece sowen att the 
side of the heele, which was of a haire of Buff, which trailed above halfe 
a foot upon the earth, or rather on the snow. They had swords and 
knives of a foot and a halfe long, and hattchetts very ingeniously done, 
and chibbs of wood made like backswords : some made of a round head 
that I admired it. When they kiile their ennemy they cutt off the tuffe 
of haire and tye it about their arme-. After all. they have a white robe 
made of Castors* skins painted. Those having passed through the midle 
of ours, that weare ranged att every side of the way. The Elders came 
with great gravitie and niodestie. covered with buff coats which hung downe 
to the grounde. Every one had in his hand a pipe of Couneell sett with 
precious jewel's. They had a sack on their shoulders, and that that holds 
it grows in the midle of their stomacks and on their shoulders. In this 
sacke all the world is inclosed. Their face is not painted, 'nit their heads 
dressed as the foremost. Then the women laden like unto SO many moles, 
their burdens made a greater shew then they themselves ; but I suppose 
the weight was not equipolent to its bigncsse. They wear: conducted to 
the appointed place, where the women unfolded their bundles, and Rtfti 
their skins whereof their tents are made, so that they had howses [in I 
lesse than half an houre. 

After they rested they came to the biggest cahbane constituted for that 
purpose. There weare fires kindled. Our Captaync mane a speech of 
thanksgiving, which should be long to writ it. We are called to the D uncell 
of new come chiefe. where we came in great pompe. II you ihftU hcare. 
First they come to make a sacrifice to the (French, being Gods and masters 
<>i all things, as of peace, as WEFTS ; making the knives .the htttchttU, and 
the kettles rattle, etc. That they came purposely to putt themselves under 
their protection. Moreover, that they came to bring them back ;.cainc 10 
their countrey, having bv their means destroyed their Ennctnyc>. abroad \ 
tieere. So said, they present us with guifts of Castors' skins, assuring us 


that the mountains weare elevated, the valleys risen, the ways very smooth, 
the bows of trees cutt downe to goe with more ease, and bridges erected 
over rivers, for not to wett our feete; that the dores of their villages, cot- 
tages of their wives and daughters, weare open at any time to receive us, 
being wee kept them alive by our merchandises. The second guift was, that 
they would die in their alliance, and that to certifie to all nations by con- 
tinuing the peace, & wcare willing to receive and assist them in their 
countrey, being well satisfied they weare come to celebrat the feast of the 
dead. The 3rd guift was for to have one of the doors of the fort-opened, 
if neede required, to receive and keepe them from the Chrisrincs that 
come to destroy them : being allwayes men, and the heavens made them 
so, "that they weare obliged to goe before to defend their countrey and 
their wives, which is the dearest thing they had in the world, & in aii 
times they weare esteemed stout & true soldiers, & that yett they would 
make it appeare by going to meet them : and that they would not degenerat, 
but shew by their actions that they weare as valiant as their fore rTathers. 
The 4th guift was presented to us, which [was] of Buff skins, to desire 
our assistance fTor being the masters of their lives, and could dispose of 
them as we would, as well of the peace as of the warrs, and that ue 
might very well see that they did well to goe defend their owne countrey ; 
that the true means to gett the victory was to have a thunder. They 
meant a gune, calling it miniskoick. 

The speech being finished, they intreated us to be att the feast. We 
goe presently back again to fournish us with woaden bowls. We made 
foure men to carry our guns afore us, that we charged of powder alone, 
because of their unskillfullnesse that they might have killed their rTathers. 
We each of us had a paire of pistoletts and Sword, a dagger. We had a 
role of porkepick about our heads, which was as a crowne, and two litle 
boyes that carryed the vessel Is that we had most need of; this was our 
dishes and our spoons. They made a place higher & most elevate, knowire 
our customs, in the midle for us to sitt, where we had the men lay our 
armes. Presently comes foure elders, with the calumet kindled in their 
hand's. They present the candles to us to smoake, and foure b -anti full 
maids that went before us carrying hears' skins to putt unJcr uv When 
we weare together, an old man rises & throws our calumet att mir fee. 
and bids them take the kettles from of the fire, and spoakc that he thanked 
the sun that never was a day to him so happy as when he saw UlOtC ten 
ble men whose words makes the earth quacke. and sang a while. Having 
ended, came and covers us with his vestment, and all naked r\r;pt 
feet and leggs, he saith, "Vee are master! over us; dead or alive you hai 
the power over us, and may dispose of u^ as your pleasur." S I 1 UK 

rakes the callumet of the feast, and brings ^t, io i maiden brings M I 
coale of fire to kindle it So done, we rose, and one of u< begins to sin* 
We bad the interpreter to tell them we should save & keep their live-, tak- 
ing them for our brethren, and to testify that we shott of ali cur artillery, 
which was of twelve gunns. We draw our SWOrdl and long knives 10 OVI 
defence, if need should require, which putt the nun m mell I ttfl I thai 



they knewed not what was best to run or stay. We throw a hand full of 
powder in the fire to make a greater noise and smoake. 

Our songs being finished, we began our teeth to worke. We had 
there a kinde of rice, much like oats. It growes in the waiter in 3 or 4 
foote deepe. There is a God that shews himselfe in every countrey, al- 
mighty, full of goodnesse, and the preservation of those poore people who 
knoweth him not. They have a particular way to gather up that graine. 
Two takes a boat and two sticks, by which they gett the eare downe and 
gett the corne out of it. Their boat being full, they bring it to a fitt place tr. 
dry it, and that is their food for the most part of the winter, and doe dresse 
it^thus: ffor each man a handfull of that they putt in the pott, that swells 
so much that it can suffice a man. After the feast was over there comes 
two maidens bringing wherewithall to smoake, the one the pipes, the oth^r 
the fire. They ottered ffirst to one of the elders, that satt downe by us. 
When he had smoaked, he bids them give it us. This being done, we went 
back to our fort as we came. 

The day following we made the principall Persons come together tc 
answer to their guifts. Being come with great solemnity, there we maue 
our Interpreter tell them that we weare come from the other side of thf 
great salted lake, not to kill them but to make them live ; acknowledging 
you for our brethren and children, whom we will love henceforth as our 
owne; then we gave them a kettle. The second guift was to encourage 
them in all their undertakings, telling them that we liked men that gener- 
ously defended themselves against all their ennemyes ; and as we weare 
masters of peace and warrs, we are to dispose the affairs that we would see 
an universall peace all over the earth ; and that this time we could not goe 
and force the nations that weare yett further to condescend &submitt to our 
will, but that we would see the neighboring countreys in peace and union : 
that the Christinos weare our brethren, and have frequented them many 
winters; that we adopted them for our children, and tooke them under 
our protection; that we should send them ambassadors; that I myself 
should make them come, and conclude a generall peace; that we weare 
sure of their obedience to us ; that the ffirst that should breake the peace 
we would be their ennemy, and would reduce them to powder with cur 
heavenly fire; that we had the word of the Christinos as well as theirs, ind 
our thunders should serve us to make warrs against those that would not 
submitt to our will and desire, which was to see them good friends, to fOC 
and make warrs against the upper nations, that doth not know vis u .^< "- 
The guift was of 6 hattchetts. The 3rd was to oblige thorn to receive OUf 
propositions, likewise the Christinos, to lead them to the dance ot Union, 
which was to be celebrated at the death's tea St and banquctt ot kindred 
If they would continue the warrs. that was n<>t the mean I I let 01 
egaine in their Countrey. The 4th was that we thanked them ffoi making 
us a free passage through their countreys. The guift of I dorcn 

of knives. The last was of smaller trifles— 6 .e...ittcrv. I dOfen oi iwlet, I 
dozen of needles, 6 dozens of looking-glassei made of tine, a doten ot I.;', 
bells, 6 Ivory combs, with a title vermilhon. Blltl ffof to r.ukc - htCCMfl 



pence to the good old man that spake so favorably, we gave him a hatchctt, 
and to the Elders each a blade tor a sword, and to the 2 maidens that 
served us 2 necklaces, which putt about their necks, and 2 braceletts for 
their armes. The last guift was in generall for all the women to love us 
and give us to eat when we should come to their cottages. The company 
gave us great Ho', ho! ho! that is. thanks. Our wildmen made others tor 
their interest. 

A company of about 50 weare dispatched to warne the Christinos of 
what we had done. I went myself, where we arrived the 3rd day. early 
in the morning. I was received with great demonstration of fT riendshippe. 
All that day we feasted, danced, and sing. I compared that place before 
to the Buttery of Paris, ffor the great quantity of meat that they use to 
have there; but now will compare it to that of London. There I received 
guifts of all sorts of meate, of grease more than 20 men couid carry. Tlrj 
custome is not to deface anything that they present. There weare above 
600 men in a fort, with a great deale of baggage on their shoulders, and 
did draw it upon light slids made very neatly. I have not seen them att 
their entrance, ffor the snow blinded mee. Coming back, we pa-sed a lake 
hardly frozen, and the sun [shone upon it] for the most part, ffor 
I looked a while steadfastly on it. so I was troubled with this seaven or 
^ight dayes. 

The meane while that we are there, arrived above a thousand that had 
not ben there but for those two redoubted nations that weare to see them doe 
what they never before had. a difference which was executed with a great 
deale of mirth. I ffor feare of being inuied I will obmitt onely that there 
weare playes, mirths, and bataills for sport, gocing and coming with 
cryes; each plaid his part. In the publick place the women danced with 
melody. The yong men that indeavourcd to gett a pryse. indcavoured to 
clime up a great post, very smooth, and greased with oyle of beare & 
oriniack grease. The stake was at lcn>t of 15 foot high. The price wis 1 
knife or other thing. We layd the stake there, but whoso could catch it 
should have it. The feast was made to eate ail up. To ho.mour the feast 
many men and women did burst. Those of that place coming backc. came 
in sight of tho>e of the village or fort, made postures in stmilitud ot warr> 
This was to discover the ennemy by signs : any that should doe soc we 
gave orders to take him, or kill him and take his head off. The prisoner to 
be tycd [and] to fight in retreating. To pull an arow out of the body; to 
exercise and strike with a Cilibbe, a buckler to theire feete. Utd take it if 
neede requireth. and defende himsclfe. if ncede requirs. from the ennemy ; 
being in sentery to heark the ennemy that comes neere. and to hcare the 
better lay him downc on the side. These postures are playd whtim the 
drums bcatc. This was a serious thing, without speaking except by DOd 
ding or gesture. Their drums weare earthcrn pott- full ot Watte t, covered 
with staggs-skin. The sticks like hammers for the purpOflC The elders 
have bonikins to the end of their stave- full of small MOMS, which make 
a ratle, to which yong men and women goe in a cadanee. The eMcr> arc 
about these potts, beating them and singing. The women also by, taring 



a nosegay in their hands, and dance very' modestly, not lifting much their 
feete from the ground, keeping their heads downe wards, makeing a, swet: 
harmony. We made guifts for that while 14 days' time. Every one 
the most exquisite things, to shew what his country affoards. The renew- 
ing of their alliances, the marriages according to their countrey coustoms. 
are made; also the visit of the boans of their deceased ffriends ; ~. >r 
they keepe them and bestow them uppon one another. We sang in our 
language as they in theirs, to which they gave greate attention. We ga\e 
them severall guifts, and received many. They bestowed upon us al 
300 robs of castors, out of which we brought not five to the fTrench, being 
far in the countrey. 

Among all the very interesting records of negotiations and 
treaties of "peace and union," made with the Indians of the 
Northwest by forerunners and agents of the French fur trade 
none is more picturesque and dramatic than this. In the late 
autumn or winter of 1634-35, Jean Xicolet, wearing a fantastic 
silken Chinese vestment, met the Winnebago Indians for a cere- 
monious conference, in the vague belief that their country might 
border on the farthest eastern parts of Asia. In 1660, Grosei!- 
liers and Radisson, as we have seen, probably within the area c E 
Kanabec county, in the east central part of Minnesota, taught 
to the Sioux and the Crees, previously hostile to each other, peace 
and friendship toward the French. In 1679, Du Luth cerem n- 
iously planted the arms of France in the great village of the 
Isanti tribe at Mille Lacs, and in other Sioux villages of north- 
eastern Minnesota, none of which, as he says, had been before 
visited by any Frenchman; and on the 15th of September in that 
year, at the west end of lake Superior, he negotiated a | 
treaty with the assembled tribes of the north, inducing them 
make peace with the Sioux, "their common enemy." During the 
remaining years of the seventeeenth century, PeiTOt, in [689, at 
Fort St. Antoine, on the Wisconsin shore of lake Pepin, and Le 
Sueur in 1693 at Chequamegon bay, later at his trading post 
on Prairie island in It595 according to the command of the G >V- 
ernor of Canada, and again in the winter of 1700 at his Fort 
L'Huillier, on the Blue Earth river, were COnspiCU( 119 by their 
efforts to maintain peace among the Indian tribes, loyalty to tht 
French, and consequent extension and prosperity of the t'ur t;., . 

We may thank Radisson for his particular care to dttcribc 

the Sioux who attended the greal feast He thus gave the 



iest portrayal of the characteristics of that people, the aboriginal 
owners of the greater part of Minnesota. It is to be regretted, 
however, that he recorded only a very meager account of the en- 
suing visit of these French traders with the Sioux of the Buffalo 
Prairies ("the Nation of the Beef") in their own country. 

Groseilliers and Radisson. according to the narration, went, 
immediately after the feast and probably in the company of the 
returning- Tintonwan Sioux bands, by seven days' travel, to visit 
them at their homes. Their numerous tribes occupied an exten- 
sive prairie region, from eastern Iowa northwesterly through 
southern Minnesota to lakes Big Stone and Traverse and the 
broad, very flat, valley plain of the Red river of the North. It 
seems most probable that the French traders and their Indian 
escort went by the way, of the Rum, Mississippi, and Minnesota 
rivers, passing the site of Minneapolis. Starting from the vicin- 
ity of Knife lake, as we think, very early in April, they spent six 
weeks in the visit, including in that time, we may suppose, the 
week of going and two weeks or longer of returning thence to 
lake Superior, so that their arrival at Chcquamegon bay was prob- 
ably within the last week or ten days of May. 

Whether they went to the prairie country by canoes or afoot, 
the route seems to me to have been almost certainly along or near 
the courses of the Rum river and the Minnesota river. By trav- 
eling twenty-five or thirty miles daily, they would come in a 
week to the neighborhood of Swan lake and the site of Xew (Jim, 
in the same country where a hundred and seven years later Cap- 
tain Jonathan Carver wintered, in 1766-67. with these prairie 
tribes. But if it be thought that "small journeys"' could be no 
more than fifteen or twenty miles daily, the locality where they 
came to the camp of the roving and buffalo-hunting Sioux would 
be perhaps at the Shakopec prairie on the lower part of the Min- 
nesota river, or perhaps even very near to Fort Snelling, OT OH 
the site of either of the Twin Cities of St. Paul and Mtnneaolt*. 

On the return to lake Superior. Groseilliers and Radissofl 
accompanied a party of O jib ways who had been trafficking With 
these Sioux, probably buying furs, under the advice 01 the French 
traders, for their trip back to Lower Canada the next summer, 
The route of the return, doubtless by canoes, was apparently that 

most used by the Ojibways. passing down the Minnesota ind 



Mississippi rivers, by the sites of Fort Snelling, St. Paul, and 
Hastings, to the St. Croix, up that river to its headwaters, and 
thence by many laborious portages, and through small lakes and 
streams, to Chequamegon bay. 

It is my belief that the journey going to the Prairie Sioux 
was made afoot, and that it reached as far as to the site or Shak- 
opee, with its large prairie; or to Traverse des Sioux, with larger 
prairies ; or. not improbably, to New Ulm, on the broad, far 
stretching prairies which continue thence uninterrupted for hun- 
dreds of miles to the west and south. As Radisson makes no 
mention of St. Anthony's falls, it may be supposed that the 
Frenchmen and their Indian companions, in passing the area of 
Minneapolis, took some footpath or trail through the west part 
of the city area, by lakes Calhoun and Harriet, to save distance 
in coming to the Minnesota river, so that they would not go with- 
in sight of the falls. 

The return, with the Ojibway traders, was very surely by 
canoes. It is therefore quite within the limits of probability to 
picture in our minds these daring travelers and their Ojibway 
comrades encamping for a night among the willows of the Mis- 
sissippi river bank where the union passenger station of the rail- 
ways centering in St. Paul now stands, or else at the foot of 
Dayton's bluff, in the east edge of this city, where more than a 
century later Carver encamped with the Sioux from the Minne- 
sota river. 

A different route of the visit to the Sioux on their prairies 
is suggested by Hon. J. V. Brower,* with whom Mr. Alfred J. Hill 
was associated in the study of the early French explorations, in- 
dicating that the Mississippi was cros>cd by Groseilliers ami 
Radisson "some thirty or forty miles above the present site oi St 
Paul," that is, near the mouth of the Rum river or oi the ClOW 
river, passing thence up the Crow river to its sources and on- 
ward west to a large village of these Sioux near Big Stone and 
Traverse lakes. The distance to be thus traveled, it the French- 
men went to those lakes, was greater than by the Minnesota river 
to New Ulm; but they may not have -one that entire distance, M 
a large encampment of the Prairie SlOUX for winter hunting and 

*Th« MlMinippl River and its Sourer (Minnesota HUi 

Vol. VII, mi). p»g«54 56; Prehistoric Mau »t The lU>»>l»«t«-r l.*»m <>l • v • 
pi, 1885, ptige 45 


trapping may have been found in the partly prairie, but mostly 
forest country of the Crow river. It seems to me very much 
more probable, however, that the route was southward, instead 
of westward, from the mouth of Rum river. The reasons for 
this opinion are, first, that the Minnesota river afforded the 
most convenient navigable communication with the gTeat prairie 
region; and, second, that the Ojibways could come there for traf- 
fic, as noted by Radisson, without going so far from their own 
territory. Thirty-five years later, when LeSueur built his trad- 
ing post on Prairie island, it was on the neutral ground between 
the Sioux and Ojibways, being therefore chosen as a favorable 
place for promoting peace between these tribes. 

In the Tintonwan camp of great tepees, covered with skins 
of buffaloes, the Frenchmen were told that these Prairie Sioux 
could muster 7,000 warriors, which, from what they saw. seemed 
credible. They were shown, probably, masses of native copper 
from the glacial drift, such as are occasionally found in eastern 
and southern Minnesota and far southward in Iowa ; also masses 
of galena, brought by these nomadic people from the lead region 
of eastern Iowa and northwestern Illinois; and selenitc crystal?, 
"transparent and tender/' from the Cretaceous shales, and from 
drift of Cretaceous derivation, on the high Coteau des Prairies 
southwest of the Minnesota valley. 

The too concise description of the visit to the Prairie or 
Buffalo Sioux is as follows: 

This feast ended, every one retourns to his countrey well satisfied. 
To be as good as onr words, we came to the nation of the bcefc, which 
was seaven small Journeys from that place. We promised in like mtlM it 
to the Christinos the next spring we should come to their sine of the up- 
per lake, and there they should mcete us, to come into their countrey. Wc 
being arrived among that nation of the beefe. we wondred to hnde our- 
selves in a towne where weare great cabbans most covered with skins and 
other close matts. They tould us that there weare 7.000 men. This wc 
believed. Those base as many wives as they can kcene. • It any one tiid 
trespasse upon the other, his nose was CUtt off. and often the crownc of 
his head. The maidens have all manor of freedome, but are forced to 
mary when they come to the age. The more they beare children the more 
they are respected. I have scene a man having 14 wives, There they 
have no wood, and make provision of mostt for then tiring. 'I his their 
place is environed with pearehes which arc a good distance one from an 
other, that they gett in the valleys where the BulTc use to rcpairc. uppon 



which they do live. They sow come but their harvest is small. The soyle is 
good, but the cold hinders it and the graine very small. In their countrey 
are mines of copper, of pewter, and of ledd. There are mountains cov- 
ered with a kind of Stone that is transparent and tender, and like to that 
of Venice. The people stay not there all the yeare ; they retire in winter 
towards the woods of the North, where they kill a quantity of Castors, and 
I say that there are not so good in the whole world, but not in such a 
store as the Christinos, but far better. 

Wee stayed there 6 weeks, and came back with a company of people of 
the nation of the Sault, that came along with us loaden with booty. Wcweare 
12 dayes before we could overtake our company that went to the lake. 
The spring approaches, which [is] the fitest time to kill the Oriniack. A 
wildman and I with my brother killed that time above 6oo, besides other 
beasts. We came to the lake side with much paines, ffor we sent our wild- 
men before, and we two weaie forced to make cariages 5 dayes through 
the woods. After we mett with a company that did us a great deaie of 
service, ffor they carryed what we had, and arrived att the appointed place 
before 3 dayes ended. Here we made a fort. Att our arrivall we found 
att least 20 cottages full. 

The French brothers-in-law have returned to lake Superior, 
approaching it probably by nearly the same route as they tra- 
versed from it, and thus coming- to the head of Chequamegon bay, 
where they had landed from their canoes the preceding autumn. 
Their first care was to get the merchandise that they had hidden 
in the ground on the other side of a stream near their little 
stockade fort.. Next they plan for the promised visit to the Crees, 
in their country on the north shore of the lake. But in drawing 
their sleds, heavily loaded with merchandise and furs, on the 
nearly dissolved ice of the bay, Radisson was chilled and wholly 
disabled by sinking more than knee-deep in the cold water, which 
caused him a dangerous illness for eight days. 

As soon as he had somewhat recovered, he was induced to 
set out on a journey through the forest with Groseilliers and a 
large party of "new wildmen." They appear to have traveled 
northwestward across the Bayfield peninsula, to the lakeshorc 
some twenty-rive or thirty miles west of Ashland and the head 
of Chequamcgon bay. But on the third day. Radisson's lame- 
ness compelled him to lag behind the company, and for the next 
three (or five?) days lie wandered on alone, until he was found 
by one of the Indians who were searching tor him. Soon 
ward he came to an Indian camp on the lakeshorc. where he 



found Groseilliers and a company of Crees. The lake ice had 
mostly melted, but many drifting- masses remained, which en- 
dangered the canoe passage made at night across this narrow 
western end of the lake by Groseilliers and Radisson, following 
the Crees who crossed the day before. Apparently the passage 
was chosen to be at night in order to leave the Hurons and other 
Indians of their company unawares. We may be quite sure that 
it was explainable in some way for the interest of the traders in 
buying furs. Radisson asserts that the distance "thwarted" 
across the lake was fifteen leagues, or about forty miles ;* but it 
really was only half so far, if my idea of the place of crossing 
is correct, as about midway between Ashland and the cities of 
Superior and Duluth. 

The date of this crossing, when the ice had' melted, except- 
ing broken and drifting ice fragments, may have been as late 
as a week or ten days after the beginning of June, which ac- 
cords well with our foregoing computations of the dates of events 
recorded during the entire winter and spring. Hon. John R. 
Carey, in his paper on the history of Duluth, written in 189S, 
states that he "knew of two men getting off a steamboat that had 
been stuck in the ice for several days, on the 9th of June, almost 
forty years ago, and" walking to shore on the broken ice a distance 
of six or eight miles."* So late continuance of the ice in the 
lake adjacent to Duluth is infrequent; but it may perhaps have 
remained even later in the year 1660, when Groseilliers and Rad- 
isson were there. The crossing apparently was not earlier than 
the first of June, nor later than June 15th. 

The narration, resumed from the preceding quotation, runs 
thus : 

One very faire evening we went to finde what we hide before, which 
we finde in good condition. We went al>out to execut our resolution, ffor- 
seeing that we must stay that year there, ffor which wee weare not verv 
sorry, being resolved to know what we heard before. We waited untill the 
Ice should vanish, but received [news] that the Octanaks built a tort on 
the point that formes that Bay. which resembles a small lake. Wc went 
towards it with all specde. We had a great store of booty which * t 
would not trust to the wildmen. ffor the occasion makes the thictc. Wi 
overloaded our slide on that rotten Ice, and the further we went the Sun 
was stronger, which made ovir Tramai>e have more di&Cllltfe. I seang 

•The French league is 2.76 BngtUh milt** 

•MlnueBOta Historical Society Collections. Vol. IX. 1901. pa.;oi Z'.d, R| 



my brother so strained. I tooke the slide, which was heavier than mine, 
and he mine. Being in that extent above foure leagues from the ground, 
we sunke downe above the one halfe of the legge in the Ice, and must ad- 
vance in spight of our teeth. To leave our booty was to undoe us. We 
>trived so that I hurted myseife in so much that I could not stand upright, 
nor any further. This putt us in great trouble. Uppon this I advised 
my brother to leave me with his slide. We putt the two sleds one by an- 
other. I tooke some cloathes to cover me. After I stripped myself e from 
my wett cloathes, I layed myseife downe on the slide ; my brother leaves 
me to the keeping of that good God. We had not above two leagues more 
to goe. He makes hast and came there in time and sends wildmen for mm 
and the slids. There we found the perfidiousnesse of the Octanaks. See- 
ing us in Extremitie, would prescribe us laws. We promised them what- 
ever they asked. They came to fetch me. 

For eight dayes I was so tormented I thought never to recover. I 
rested neither day nor night; at last by means that God and my brother 
did use, which was by rubbing my leggs with hott oyle of bears and keeping 
my thigh and leggs well tyed, it came to its former strenght. After a 
while I came to me selfe. There comes a great company of new wildmen 
to seeke a nation in that land for a weighty buissinesse. They desired 
me to goe a long, so I prepare myseife to goe with them. I marched well 
2 dayes; the 3rd day the sore begins to breake out againe, in so much that I 
could goe no further. Those left me, albeit I came for their sake. You 
will see the cruelties of those beasts, and I may think that those that 
liveth on fish uses more inhumanities then those that feed upon flesh ; 
neverthelesse I proceeded forwards the best I could, but knewed [not] 
where for the most part, the sun being my onely guide. 

There was some snow as yett on the ground, which was so hard in 
the mornings that I could not percave any tracks. The worst was that 
I had not a hattchett nor other arme, and not above the weight of ten 
pounds of victualls, without any drink. I was obliged to proceed five 
dayes for my good fortune. I indured much in the morning, but a little 
warmed, I went witn more ease. I looked betimes for som old cabbans 
where I found wood to make fire wherwith. I melted the snow in my 
cappe that was so greasy. One night I finding a cottage covered it with 
boughs of trees that I found ready cutt. The fire came to it as I began to 
dumber, which soon awaked me in hast, lame as I was. to save meselfc 
from the fire. My racketts, shoos, and S tokens kept me my life; I must 
needs save them. I tooke them and flung them as farr as I could in the 
snow. The fire being out, I was forced to looke for them, as dark as it 
was, in the said snow, all naked & very lame, and almost starved both for 
hungar and cold. But what is it that a man cannot doc when he seeth 
that it concerns his life, that one day he must loose? Yett we arc to 
prolong it as much as we cane, & the very teare iuaketh us to uncut new 

The fifth day 1 heard a noysc and thought it of i woit'e. I stood 
Will, and soonc perceived that it was of a man. Many wild men wcarc up 



and downe looking for me, fearing least the Bears should have devoured 
me.' That man came neere and saluts me, and demands whether it was I. 
We both satt downe; he looks in my sacke to see if I had victualls. where 
he finds a peece as bigg as my fist. He eats this without participation, be- 
ing their usuall way. He inquireth if I was a hungary. I tould him no, to 
shew meselfe stout and resolute. He takes a pipe of tobacco, and then 
above 20 pounds of victualls he takes out of his sack, and greased, and 
gives it me to eate. I eat what I could, and gave him the rest. He bids 
me have courage, that the village was not far oft. He demands if I 
knewed the way, but I was not such as should say no. The village was 
att hand. The other wildmen arrived but the day before, and after a while 
came by boats to the lake. The boats weare made of Oriniacks' skins. 
I find my brother with a company of Christinos that ucare arrived in my 
absence. We resolved to cover our buissinesse better, and close our de- 
signe as if we weare going a hunting, and send them before; that we would 
follow them the next night, which we did. & succeeded, but not without 
much labor and danger; for not knowing the right wry to thwart the 
other side of the lake, we weare in danger to perish a thousand times 
because of the crums of Ice. We thwarted a place of 15 leagues. We 
arrived on the other side att night. When we came there, we knewed 
not where to goe, on the right or left hand, ft or we saw no body. Att last, 
as we with full sayle came from a deepe Bay, we perceived smoake and 
tents. Then many boats from thence came to meete us. We are receded 
with much Joy by those poore Christinos. They suffered not that we 
trod on ground; they leade us into the midle of their cottages in our own 
boats, like a couple of cocks in a Basquett. There weare some wildmen 
that followed us but late. . . . 


Without beginning- a new paragraph, Radisson turns abrupt- 
ly away from the Crec encampment on the north shore of lake 
Superior, doubtless somewhere between fifteen and fifty miles 
northeast of Duluth, and quite probably very near the site of the 
present town of Two Harbors (but possibly farther west, close 
to the mouth of Knife river, or farther east, at Beaver bay), 
where the (Trees had so heartily welcomed these traders. la 
two short sentences he reaches Hudson bay, and before th< ^- 
of the paragraph he supplies confirmations of this statement by 

saying that they found a mined house bearing bullet marks, and 
that the Indians there told of European visitors, meaning 

dently that sailing vessels had come to that southern part of the 
bay. This section of the narrative, including inde< I I \ ! 



vear, from the arrival at the Cree camp northwest of lake Su- 
perior to the time of preparations for the return to Lower Can- 
ada, seems to me to have been fictitiously inserted by Radisson, 
nearly as he added a fictitious year, according to my conclusions 
before noted, in the account of his previous far western expe- 

At the end of his narration of that expedition. Radisson 
wrote : "My brother and I considered whether we should dis- 
cover what we have seene or no ; and because we had not a full 
and whole discovery, which was that we have not ben in the bay 
of the north, not knowing anything but by report of the wild 
Christinos, we would make no mention of it for feare that those 
wildmen should tell us a fibbe. We would have made a discovery 
of it ourselves and have an assurance, before we should discover 
anything of it." After reading these words, I have been very 
unwilling to disbelieve our author concerning the journey from 
lake Superior to Hudson bay„ which was the chief object of am- 
bition to both these explorers ; but full consideration appears to 
me to show that Radisson here told to his English patrons, on 
a large scale and deliberately, for his personal advancement, what 
he feared that the wild Crees might have told to him, a fiction. 

It will be preferable to give the continuation of Radisson's 
narrative, as follows, before stating in detail my numerous rea- 
sons" for thus regarding it as false. 

. . .We went away with all hast possible to arrive the sooner att the 
great river. We came to the seaside, where we rinde an old bowse all 
demollished and nattered with boulletts. We weare told that those that 
came there weare of two nations, one of the wolf, the other of the long- 
horned beast. All those nations are distinguished by the representation of 
the beasts or animals. They tell us particularities of the Europians. We 
know ourselves, and what Europ is, therefore in vaine they tell us as lot 

We went from Isle to Isle all that summer. We pluekt abundance of 
Ducks, as of all other sort of fowles ; we wanted nor fish nor fresh meate. 
We weare well beloved, ami weare overjoyed that we promised them to 
conic with such shipps as we invented. This place hath a great store of 
cows. The wildmen kill them not execpt for neeessaiy u<e. We went 
further in the bay to see the place that they weare to paSSC thlfl lURimer. 
That river comes from the lake and empties itselfe in the nver ot Sagnes, 
called Tadousack, which is a hundred leagues ill the >:reat river of Citttda, 
as where we weare in the Bay of the north. Wc left in this place our 


marks and rendezvous. The vvildmen that brought us defended us above 
all things, if we would come directly to them, that we should by no means 
land, and so goe to the river to the other sid, that is, to the north, towards 
the sea, telling us that those people weare very treacherous. Now. whet et 
they tould us this out of pollicy, least we should not come to them (first, 
& so be deprived of what they thought to gett from us [I know not]. In 
that you may see that the envy and envy raigns every where 
poore barbarous wild people as att Courts. They made us a manp of what 
we could not see. because the time was nigh to reape among, the bustards 
and Ducks. As we came to the place where these oats growes ( they grow 
in many places), you would think it Strang to see the great number of 
ffowles, that are so fatt by eating of this graine that lieardly they will 
move from it. I have seene a wildman killing 3 ducks at once with one 
arrow. It is an ordinary thing to see five [or] six hundred swans to- 
gether. I must professe I wondred that the winter there was so cold, when 
the sand boyles att the watter side for the extreame heate of the sun. I 
putt some eggs in that sand, and leave them halfe an houre: the egg? 
weare as hard as stones. We passed that summer quietly, coasting the 
seaside, and as the cold began, we prevented the Ice. We have the com- 
moditie of the river to carry our things in our boats to the best place, 
where weare most bests. 

This is a wandring nation, and containeth a vaste countrey. In win- 
ter they live in the land for the hunting sake, and in summer by the wat- 
ter for fishing. They never are many together, ffor feare of wronging 
one another. They are of a good nature, . . . having but one wife, and 
are [more] satisfied then any others that I knewed. They cloath them- 
selves all over with castors' skins in winter, in summer of staggs* skins. 
They are the best huntsmen of all America, and scorns to catch a castor 
in a trappe. The circumjacent nations goe all naked when the season 
permitts it. But this have more modestie, ffor they putt a piece of copper 
made like a finger of a glove, which they use before their nature. They 
have the same tenets as the nation of the beefe, and their apparell from 
topp to toe. The women are tender and delicat, and takes as much paines 
as slaves. They are of more acute wits then the men, ffor the men are. 
fools, but diligent about their worke. They kill not the yong castor', 
but leave them in the watter, being that they are sure that they will take 
him againe, which no other nation doth. They burne not their prisoner-, 
but knock them in the head, or slain them with arrow?, saying it s not 
decent for men to be so cruell. They have a stone of Turquois from the 
nation of the buff and beefe, with whome they had warrs. They poHilh 
them, and give them the forme of pcarle, long, flatt, round, and (hang] 
them att their nose. They [find] greenc Stones very tine, att tlie s;dc of 
the same bay of the sea to the norvvest. There is a nation called among 
themselves neuter. They spcakc the beefe and Christinas Speech, being 
friends to both. Those poore people could not tell us what : - 
They weare overjoyed when we sayd we should bring them COUUnoditiei 
We went up on another river to the upper lake. The nation ol the beefe 



sent us guifts, and we to them, by [the] ambassadors. In the midle of 
winter we joyned with a Company of the fort, who gladly received us. 
They weare resolved to goe to the ffrench the next spring, because they 
weare quite out of stccke. The feast of the dead consumed a great deale 
of it. . . . 

By our ambassadors I came to know an other Lake which is north- 
erly of their countrey. They say that it's bigger then ail the rest. The 
upper end is allways frozen. Their ffish comes from those parts. There 
are people that lives there and dare not trade in it towards the south. 
There is a river so deepe and blacke that there is no bottome. They say 
that fish goes neither out nor in to that river. It is very warme, and it 
they durst navigate in it, they should not come to the end in 40 dayes. 
That river comes from the lake, and the inhabitants makes warrs against 
the birds, that defends & offends with theire bills that are as sharpe as 
sword. This I cannot tell for truth, but told me. . . . 

If Radisson had made the long journey with canoes from 
lake Superior to Hudson bay, by any one of several possible 
routes, it seems very certain that he would have given some ac- 
count of the route, more than to indicate vaguely that it was 
by "the great river." The only route that would suggest such 
description is the entirely improbable one by way of lake Winni- 
peg and the Nelson river. His claim to have reached Hudson 
bay is thus shown to be a fiction, because he would come to it 
by rivers of no great size. The error, curiously, is opposite to 
that which discredits his assertion in the former western expedi- 
tion, that they came to the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, where 
he failed to describe the necessary route thither by the greatest 
river of our continent. 

Describing the fauna of the Hudson bay region, Radisson 
says that it "had a great store of cows," that is, buffaloes. This 
statement, as Dr. George Bryce remarks, is inapplicable to Hud- 
son bay, which lies far northeast of the former range of the 
buffalo, its limits being in the vicinity of the lake of the Woods 
and lake Winnipeg, near the northeastern borders of the vast 
prairie area. 

The most absurd error of our narrator is his assertion con- 
cerning the remarkable heat of summer days in that northern 

country, of which he had perhaps received exaggerated ideas 
from the descriptions given by the Crees. It brands the whole 
story of the travel to Hudson bay as false when we arc toM that 
eggs can be cooked there by the heat of the beach land, and tlu: 


Radisson. in trying the experiment, left the eggs too long, so that 
they were boiled "as hard as stones/' 

The Jesuit Relations and Journal indicate only one year as 
the duration of this expedition, which would suffice for all the 
narration of Radisson excepting the year that he gives to his 
vague and erroneous description of travel to Hudson bay and 
spending the summer there. He says that they returned to lake 
Superior by another river, a different canoe route ; but "he makes 
no mention of seeing the Lake of the Woods or lake Winnipeg 
either in going or returning. In view of all these considerations, 
we must reject the statements of the French authors, Potherie 
and Jeremie, who say that Groseilliers and Radisson visited Hud- 
son bay overland from lake Superior ; and also that of the Eng- 
lish historian, Oldmixon, who wrote that these two French ex- 
plorers, coming to the lake of the Assiniboines (lake Manitoba 
or lake Winnipeg), were thence conducted by the savages to 
Hudson bay. Such claims were doubtless made by Groseilliers 
and Radisson, both in England and France, during the next 
twenty-five years, for the prestige to be thus obtained in proffer- 
ing their services for sea expeditions and commerce in the Hud- 
son bay region ; but no credence should be given to this part of 
Radisson's narration. 

Professor Bryce well says : ''Closely interpreted, it is plain 
that Radisson had not only not visited Hudson or James bay, but 
that he had a wrong conception of it altogether. He is simply 
giving a vague story of the Christinos." 

Oldmixon's statement that these French adventurers traveled 
first to the Assinibone country and lake Winnipeg is disproved 
by Radisson's description of that lake, based cn his hearsay from 
the Indians. As we should expect, gross mistakes are admitted, 
as the estimate that it is larger than any of the lakes tributary 
to the St. Lawrence, and that its northern part is "always frozen." 
It is also noteworthy that Radisson makes no mention of the 
Assiniboine Indians in connection with these western expedi- 
tions, excepting that, at the end of his narration, their old name. 
Asinipour, is included in his list of "the Nations that live in the 
North." If he had traveled to the area of Manitoba, he could 
not have failed to become acquainted with the Assin il vines and 
to give some account of them. 


Besides the evidence contained in the Jesuit writings of 1659- 
60, implying that these Frenchmen spent only one year in this 
second western expedition, and making no mention of their going 
to Hudson bay (for which indeed they could not have had suffi- 
cient time in an absence of only a year from Lower Canada), the 
Relation for that year otherwise adds to our distrust of the Hud- 
son bay statement of Radisson. During the summer of 1659, 
when, if his narration be accepted, he and Groseilliers were going 
"from isle to isle" in James and Hudson bays, the Jesuit Rela- 
tion informs us that a journey about Hudson bay was made by 
an Algonquian chief or captain, named Awatanik, who had been 
baptized ten years before in the country of lake Nipissing. This 
Indian, according to the Relation, went across from lake Supe- 
rior and coasted ''along the entire Bay," finding abundance of 
game, and conversing much with the Indian tribes there. Re- 
turning to the St. Lawrence region by a southeastern route, he 
was interviewed July 30th, 1660, on the Saguenay river by the 
Jesuit reporter for the Relation of 1659-60.* With such defi- 
nite and full intelligence from the region of Hudson bay for the 
very year when Radisson claims to have been there, the Rela- 
tion yet has no word of confirmation of his assertions, which, 
bearing many inherent marks of falsehood, seem from every point 
of view unworthy of our acceptance. 

How far northward these traders advanced, we cannot de- 
termine; but to the present writer it appears quite unlikely that 
they went so far as to the northern boundary of Minnesota. Some 
writers have supposed that the 4t R. des Grossillers" of Franque- 
lin's map in 1688 was named for Groseilliers, marking his route 
of departure from lake Superior to go to Hudson bay; but it 
seems better to consider this the Gooseberry river of the present 
map, translated from its Indian and French names, so designated 
for its abundance of wild gooseberries. From the same berries 
Chouart adopted his title, probably likewise given to a land estate 
owned by him at Three Rivers.- The map of F ranquelin was 
apparently drafted for this part mainly according to information 
from Du Luth, who had recently traveled much west and north 
of lake Superior. 

•The Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents, Vol. xlv, ptgtl Ufl M 

•8te Brymner's remarks on this DUM, M quoted in the BlbUogrMtfef MM tM M I 
of thin paper. 




Continuing from the last quotation of Radisson's narrative, 
it gives in the same paragraph the circumstances of the departure 
to return to lower Canada, apparently starting from Chequame- 
gon bay, with a great company of Indians and very valuable furs, 
as follows : 

. . . All die circumjacent neighbours do incourage us, saying that they 
would venter their lives with us, for which we weare much overjoyed to 
see them so freely disposed to go along with us. Here nothing but cour- 
age. "Brother, doe not lye, ffor the fTrench will not believe thee." All men 
of courage and vallour, lett them fetch commodities, and not stand lazing 
and be a beggar in the cabbane. It is the way to be beloved of women, to 
goe and bring them wherewithall to be joyfull. We present guifts to one 
and to another for to warne them to that end that we should make the 
earth quake, and give terror to the Iroquoits if they weare so bold as to 
shew themselves. The Christiuos made guifts that they might come with 
us. This was graunted unto them, to send 2 beats, to testifie that they 
weare retained slaves among the other nations, although they furnish 
them with castors. The boats ready, we embarque ourselves. We weare 
700. There was not scene such a company to gee downe to the ffrench. 
There weare above 400 Christinos* boats that brought us their castors, in 
hopes that the people should give some marchandises for them. Att their 
retourne the biggest bouts could carry encly the man and his wife, and 
could scarce carry with them 3 castors, so little weare their boats. In sum- 
mer time I have seene 300 men goe to warrs. and each man his boat, fTor 
they are that makes the least boats. The company that we had filled above 
360 boats. There weare boats that carved seaven men, and the least two. 

Radisson says that in two days they arrived at "the River of 
the sturgeon, so called because of the great quantity of Sturget ns 
that we tooke there," enough of these fish being dried to serve as 
provision for tins large company during the next two weeks 
canoeing along the lakeshore. It was doubtless the Ontonagon 
river, of which Dablon wrote, in the Jesuit Relation of 1669-70 
.(vol. liv., p. 151). as follows: "In the River named NantOUBfc- 
gan, which is toward the South, very extensive fishing for Stur- 
geon is carried on, day and night, from Spring until Autumn; 
and it is there that the Savages go to lay in their provision. 91 

Before they came to the Keweenaw peninsula, thev sur- 
prised a small camp of seven Iroquois, M who doubtleSSC Stayed thai 
winter in the lake 01 the burtons, and came there to discover 
■somewhat." The Iroquois abandoned their boat and the camp 



equipage, as a kettle, gun, hatchet, etc., and fled into the woods, 
The Indians accompanying Groseilliers and Radisson were great- 
ly alarmed, lest they should meet many Iroquois, and resolved 
therefore to turn back and wait another year. With all the per- 
suasion of the two Frenchmen, about a fortnight was lost in 
mustering courage again to advance. Radisson says : 

. . . Twelve dayes are passed, in which time we gained some hopes 
of faire words. We called a councell before the company was disbanded, 
where we represented, if they weare discouvers, they had not vallued the 
losse of their kettle, knowing well they weare to gett another where their 
army layed, and if there should be an army it should appeare and we 
in such an number, they could be well afraid and turne backe. Our 
reasons weare hard and put in execution. The next day we embarqued, 
saving the Christinos, that weare afraid of a sight of a boat made of an- 
other stuff then theirs, that they went back as we came where the Iroquoits' 
boat was. Our words proved true and so proceeded in our way. 

Being come nigh the Sault, we found a place where 2 of these men 
sweated, & for want of covers buried themselves in the sand by the 
watter side to keepe their bodyes from the flyes called maringoines, which 
otherwise had killed them with their stings. We thwarted those 2 great 
lakes with great pleasur, having the wind faire with us. It was a great 
satisfaction to see so many boats, and so many that never had before 
commerce with the frrench. So my brother and I thought wee should be 
wellcomed. But, O covetousnesse, thou art the cause of many evils! We 
made a small sayle to every boate; every one strived to be not the last 
The wind was double waves favourable to us. The one gave us rest, the 
other advanced us very much, which wee wanted much because of the 
above said delay. We now are corned to the cariages and swift streames 
to gett the lake of the Castors. We made them with a courage, prompti- 
tud, and hungar which made goe with hast as well as the wind. We goc 
dovvne all the great river without any encounter, till we came to the long 
Sault, where my brother some years before made a shipwrake. . . . 

Near the foot of the Long Sault, Adam Daulac or Dollard, 
and his handful of brave associates, late in May of this year l66o, 
had resisted 500 to 800 Iroquois, saving Montreal from attack 
and probable destruction by the sacrifice of their own lives. The 
scene of their heroic battle and death was examined by Radisson 
and his companions with amazement at the evidences of their 
valor, and with anxiety for the safety of Montreal, where they 
arrived the next morning. As at Quebec on their return from 
the previous expedition, the garrison -reeled them by the firing 
of cannon, "with a great deal of Joy to see so great a number of 
boats that did almost cover the whole River." 




Groseilliers and Radisson were less cordially welcomed at 
Quebec by the governor, Argenson, as appears in the continuation 
of the narrative. 

Wee stayd 3 dayes at mont-Royall, and then wee went down to the 
three Rivers. The wildmen did aske our advice whether it was be£t for 
them to goe down further. We told them no, because of the dangers that 
they may meet with at their returne. for the Irokoits could have notice of ' 
their comeing down, and so come and lay in ambush for them, and it was 
in the latter season, being about the end of August. Well, as soon as theii 
businesse was done, they went back again very well satis tyed and wee 
very ill satisfied for our reception, which was very bad considering the ser- 
vice wee had done to the countrey, which will at another time discourage 
those that by our example would be willing to venture their lives for 
benefit of the countrey, seeing a Governor that would grow rich by the 
labours and hazards of others. 
\. . 

The Governour, feeing us come back with a considerable summe for 
our own particular, and seeing that his time was expired and that he was 
to goe away, made use of that excuse to doe us wrong & to enrich him- 
with the goods that wee had so dearly bought, and by our meanes wee 
made the country to subsist, that without us had beene, I believe, often- ' 
times quite undone and ruined, and the better to say at his last be^ 
no castors, no ship, & what to doe without necessary- commod" 
He made also my brother prisoner for not having observed his ord 
and to be gone without his leave, although one of his letters made him 
blush for shame, not knowing what to say, but that he would have some of 
them at what price soever, that he might the better maintain his coach & 
horses at Paris. He fines us four thousand pounds to make a Fort at the 
three Rivers, telling us for all manner of satisfaction that he would E 
us leave to put our coat of armes upon it, and moreover 6.000 pounds for 
the country-, saying that wee should not take it so strangely and so bad. 
being wee were inhabitants and did intend to finish our days in the same 
country with our Relations and Friends. 'But the Bougre did grease his 
chopps with it, and more, made us pay a CUStome which was the 4th part, 
which came to 14,000 pounds, so that wee had left but 46.000 poUD - 
took away 24.000 pounds. Was not he a Tyrant to deal so with us, after 
wee had so hazarded our lives, & having brought m lesse then i 
that voyage, as the Factors of the said country said, between 40 and 
50,000 pistolls? For they spoke to me in this manner: "In which coun- 
try have you been? From whence doe you come? For wee never saw 
the like. From whence did come such excellent CtStOfS? Since your 
arrivall is come into our maga/.in very near (xx>.ooo pound* Tournoi* ot 
that filthy merchandise, which will be prized like gold in France.*' .\r.A 
them were the very words that they said to me. 

Seeing ourselves so wronged, my brother did resolve to fOC lad it 
mand Justice in France. It had been better fof him to ] U vc hen C 
tented with his losses without going and spend the rot in a Jttd I 



time in France, having 10,000 pounds that he left with his wife, that was 
as good a Houswife as he. There he is in France; he is paid with fair 
words and with promise to make him goe back from whence he came. . . 

Radisson probably means so many livres Tournois or livres 
of Tours, nearly of the value of a modern franc, or about 19 or 
20 cents. His imperfect knowledge of the English money and 
language misled him to write, throughout these paragraphs, of 
English pounds, where it would even have included some exag- 
geration if he had written of so many shillings, instead of pounds. 


The third chapter of the Relation of 1659-60, entitled "Of the 
Condition of the Algonquin Country, and of Some New Discov- 
eries/' gives first a long account of the travels and observations 
of Awatanik before mentioned, who spent the summer of 1659 in 
examining the Hudson Bay country, with much information de- 
rived from the Indians there and communicated by Awatanik to 
Father Jerome Lalemant, the writer of this part of the Relation. 
The remainder of the chapter tells what Lalemant learned, soon 
after his return from the Saguenay to Quebec, concerning dis- 
coveries by Groseilliers and Radisson, then arriving from their 
Lake Superior expedition. Their names are not stated, but the 
details of their journeying and of their visits with the Hurons 
and Sioux leave no doubt of their identity. In the Journal of the 
Jesuits, likewise written contemporaneously, Groseilliers is named 
as one of these two French pioneers of the fur trade. The Re- 
lation is as follows: 

. . . Scarcely had I returned to Quebec when I found two French- 
men there who had but just arrived from those upper countries, with three 
hundred Algonkins, in sixty canoes loaded with furs. Following is an 
account of what they saw with their own eyes: it will give us a view of the 
condition of the Algonkins of the West, as we have until now mentioned 
those of the North. 

They passed the winter on the shores of lake Superior, and were for- 
tunate enough to baptize there two hundred little children of the Algonkin 
Nation with whom they first made their abode. These children were the 
victims of disease and famine; and forty went straight to Heaven, dying 
soon after Baptism. 

During their winter season, our two Frenchmen made divers excur- 
sions to the surrounding tribes. Among other things, they law, IIX dljrs' 
journey beyond the lake toward the Southwest, I trihc COmpOted o! thl 



remnants 61 the Hurons of the Tobacco Nation, who have been compelled 
by the Iroquois to forsake their native land, and bury themselves so deep 
in the forests that they cannot be found by their enemies.. These poor 
people — fleeing and pushing their way over mountains and rocks, through 
these vast unknown forests — fortunately encountered a beautiful River, 
large, wide, deep, and worthy of comparison, they say, with our great river 
St. Lawrence. On its banks they found the great Nation of the Alimiwec 
[Illinois], which gave them a very kind reception. This Nation com- 
prises sixty Villages — which confirms us in the knowledge that .we already 
possessed, concerning many thousands of people who fill all those Western 

Let us return to our two Frenchmen. Continuing their circuit, they 
were much surprised, on visiting the Nadwechiwec [Sioux], to see women 
disfigured by having the ends of their noses cut off down to the cartilage : 
in that part of the face, then, they resemble death's heads. Moreover, they 
have a round portion of the skin on the top of their heads torn away. 
Making inquiry as to the cause of this ill treatment, they learned, to their 
admiration, that it is the law of the country which condemns to this pun- 
ishment all women guilty of adultery, in order that they may bear, graven 
on their faces, the penalty and shame of their sin. . . . Our Frenchmen 
visited the forty Villages of which this Nation is composed, in five of 
which there are reckoned as many as five thousand men. But we must 
take leave of these people, — without much ceremony, however. — and enter 
the territories of another Nation, which is warlike and which with its 
bows and arrows has rendered itself as redoubtable among the upper Al- 
gonkins as the Iroquois among the lower; and so it bears the name of 
Poualak, which means "Warriors." 

As wood is scanty in supply and small in size in their country, nature 
has taught them to make fire with coal from the earth and to cover their 
cabins with skins. Some of the more ingenious make themselves buildings 
of loam, very nearly as the swallows build their nests ; and they would 
sleep not less comfortably under these skins and this mud than do the 
great ones of the earth under their golden canopies, if they did not fear 
the Iroquois, who come in search of them from a distance of five and six 
hundred leagues. 

But if the Iroquois goes thither, why shall not we also? If there are 
conquests to make, why shall not the faith make them, since it makes them 
in all parts of the world? Behold countless peoples, hut the way to them 
is closed; therefore we must break down all obstacle*, and. passing 
through a thousand deaths, leap into the midst of the flames, to deliver 
therefrom so many poor Nations. . . . 

Exact dates of the departure of Groseilliers and Rldisson 
from lake Superior, with their Indian company, and of their 
arrival at Montreal and Three Rivers, are supplied by the Journal 
of the Jesuit Fathers, which for August, [660, has this entry: 



On the 17th, monseigneur of petraea [Laval, titular Bishop of Arabia 
Petrsea, and vicar apostolic for New France] set out for his Visitation to 
3 rivers and Montreal with Monsieur de Charny and others, and with 
the 4 oiochronons [Iroquois of the Cayuga tribe]. He arrived at Mon- 
treal on the 21 st, at about 5 o'clock in the evening. The Outawats had 
arrived there on the 19th, and left on the following day, the 22nd, reaching 
3 rivers on the 24th, whence they started on the 27th. They were 300 
in number. Des grosilleres was in their Company; he had gone to their 
country the previous year. They had started from Lake Superior in 100 
canoes ; 40 turned back and 60 reached here, loaded with furs to the val- 
ue of 200,000 livres. They left some to the value of 50,000 livres at 
Montreal, and took the remainder to 3 rivers. They came down in 26 
Days, and took two months to return. Des grosillers wintered with the 
nation of the ox. which he says consists of 4 thousand men : they are 
sedentary Nadwesseronons. Father Menar, father Albanel, Jean Guerin, 
and 6 other frenchmen went with them. 

The last sentence here quoted has led several writers to infer 
that Groseilliers and Radisson returned again to the west in 1660, 
according to the assertion that Fathers Menard and Albanel 
"went with them." This expression, however, clearly refers to 
the large company of the returning Indians. We have no inform- 
ation of any later expedition by Groseilliers and his brother-in- 
law to the far west. Instead, as we have seen, on account of the 
exactions of the governor, Groseilliers went to France for re- 
dress; and the next expeditions which they took were sea voy- 
ages, putting forth their utmost efforts to aid the English in sup- 
planting the French for the Hudson Bay fur trade. 

Some writers also have thought one or both of these ex- 
plorers to be Huguenots, or at least to have forsaken the Roman 
Catholic church when they entered the service of the English. 
On the contrary, their baptism of Indian children, probably by 
Groseilliers, is mentioned approvingly in the Jesuit accounts of 
both their far western expeditions ; and I have found no indica- 
tion that either of thenvchanged afterward to Protestantism. 

Observations of the Indian Tribes. 

Radisson's writings contain a groat amount of detailed in- 
formation concerning the Indians with whom he dealt, roamed 
through the woods or prairies, canoed along the streams and 
lakes, and lived in wigwams and tepees. His pages of glowing 


and minute description, recitals of addresses and parleys by the 
Indians and his brother and himself in the rude councils and fes- 
tivals with the savages, and indeed the whole spirit and tone of 
his narrations, are redolent with the freshness and wildness of 
nature and of mankind in all this great western region as it was 
two and a half centuries ago. In reading these pages, the mind 
is transported backward a quarter of a millennium. We see the 
wild red men in their hunting of game, on the ''road of war," and 
in the stealthy ambuscade ; the women in their work of the lodge 
and the cornfields : and the youth and children in their pastimes, 
or, when famine befell, in the pangs of hunger even to death, 
with many also of the braves and whoever was old or weakened 
by disease. 

Gathering throughout these narrations the varied threads of 
information of the Indians, and weaving them to present, as in 
a tapestry, the picture of savage life, the delineation of the In- 
dian's character, his habits of thought and action, we can restore, 
in imagination, those bygone times when the aboriginal posses- 
sors of the country drained by the Hudson and the St. Lawrence, 
the Great Lakes, and the Mississippi, dwelt at peace in their sev- 
eral tribal areas, or often carried war and devastation against 
their neighbors and even to distances of hundreds of leagues. 

Among the tribes to whom Groseilliers and Radisson trav- 
eled, or with whom they dealt in the fur trade, or against whom 
they were compelled to defend themselves in the canoe journeys 
to and from the west, those which more or less nearly concern 
our studies of the first white explorations in the area of Minne- 
sota are the Iroquois, Hurons, Ottawas, Winnebagoes, Ojibways, 
Dakotas or Sioux, and the Crees. These seven tribes or stocks 
of the red men will therefore be briefly noticed in this order, which 
is based on their former geographic position, and partly on the 
sequence of their description in the narratives of the two western 


In the area of the state of New York, between the Hudson 
and Genesee rivers, dwelt the Iroquois, whose war parties were 
dreaded by all the surrounding tribes. The name probably means, 
according to Horatio Hale, those who smoke the pipe; hut Char- 



levoix attributed it to an exclamation used by Iroquois speakers, 
as in a council, at the end of all their speeches;. From a remote 
common ancestry, the Iroquois, while all continuing to speak the 
same language, had diverged into five tribes or nations, who had 
united in league before the first coming of the white men. This 
powerful confederation included, as Morgan estimates, at least 
25,000 people at the period of their greatest prosperity and high- 
est numbers, about the middle of the seventeenth century, when 
Groseilliers and Radisson made these expeditions. 

In 1649-50 the Iroquois had conquered the Hurons, and 
within two years later the Ottawas ; and in 1654 they nearly ex- 
terminated the Eries, acquiring undisputed possession of all the 
country about lake Erie. During seventy-five years, from 1625 
to 1700, their raids of conquest and subjugation covered a wide 
region from New England to the Mississippi. 

The Jesuit fathers, Radisson, and all writers on the history 
of this period, abound in testimony of the fear with which the 
other Indians and the French regarded these foes. The journeys 
of the fur traders and missionaries to and from the far west were 
practicable only by way of the Ottawa, Mattawa, and French 
rivers; for the route through lakes Ontario and Erie was de- 
barred by the Iroquois. To undertake safely the trip down the 
Ottawa, with a year's collection of furs, required a verv large 
escorting company of Indians, so formidable that the usual rang- 
ing parties of the Iroquois would not dare to attack them. As 
we have seen, several hundred Indians from the upper Missis- 
sippi and lakes Michigan and Superior made this trip with Gros- 
eilliers and Radisson on their return from both their western ex- 
peditions. Ten years afterward, in 1670, more than nine hundred 
Indians accompanied Perrot and four other Frenchmen when 
they returned from the west to Montreal. 

The Five Nations of the Iroquois in Radisson's time were 
the Senecas, Cayugas, Onondagas, Oneidas. and Mohawks. In 
171 5 they admitted the Tuscaroras into their league, a tribe of 
the same stock as shown by their language, who had lived before 
in North Carolina; and thenceforth they were commonly called 
the Six Nations. At the present day their descendants m north- 
ern and western New York, mostly living on reservations, num- 
ber about 5,300, and in the provinces of Quebec and Ontario, 



Canada, about 8,000 ; while nearly 2,000 Oneidas live on a reser- 
vation in Wisconsin, whither the greater part of that tribe re- 
moved in 1846. 

They called themselves the Ho-de-no-sau-nee, or People of 
the Long House, meaning the long tract of country from the 
Hudson and Mohawk rivers past the Finger Lakes of central 
New York to the Genesee and Niagara, which was their home. 
Thus they indicated the close relationship of the Iroquois League, 
under which, as their thought is expressed by Morgan, their sev- 
eral nations '''constituted one Family, dwelling together in one 
Long House." 


According to the Jesuit Relation of 1655-56, before cited, 
the principal bands of the Hurons, living in seventeen villages 
within an area of no greater extent than about fifty miles, had 
formerly numbered fully 30,000 people. From that home country 
southeast of Georgian bay, where they had depended largely on 
agriculture, especially the raising of corn, being mostly neither 
expert hunters nor practiced warriors, the survivors from the 
Iroquois attacks fled to Bois Blanc island and Mackinac, and to 
the region of Green bay and the Fox river. 

The Tobacco nation, a more western band of this people, 
who had been so named for their diversified agriculture, notably 
including the plentiful cultivation of tobacco, went onward to the 
friendly Illinois tribe on the Illinois and Mississippi rivers. 
Thence, in company with some of the similarly exiled Ottawas, 
who had lived farther northwest, on lake H uron, thev sought a 
permanent refuge and settlement in the region of the Upper Iowa 
river, nearly on the south line of the present state of Minnesota. 
Disappointed in finding no forests there, they advanced farther 
up the Mississippi, to Prairie island, in the midst of a beautiful 
country of forests and prairies, which they chose for their new 

But in an evil day hostilities were begun by these Hup QS 
against the Sioux, whom they thought to be at a disadvantage 
from their not having firearms. The greater numbers and supe- 
rior prowess of the Sioux enabled them SOOn to hai LS9 the Hu- 



rons and Ottawas so that they again relinquished their homes and 
fled into the forest of northwestern Wisconsin, on the neutral 
ground between the O jib ways, Menominees, and other tribes on 
the east, and the warlike Sioux on the west. 

Nicolas Perrot, who came in 1683 to the Mississippi, by way 
of the Wisconsin river, and was engaged in trade with the In- 
dians thence northward to lake Pepin during several years, until 
1689 or later, is the authority for the temporary settlement, of the 
Hurons and Ottawas on Isle Pelee, now Prairie island, where 
Groseilliers and Radisson spent more than a year with them. He 
wrote a treatise entitled, in translation from the French, "'Me- 
moir on the Manners, Customs, and Religion of the Savages of 
North America." This was preserved in manuscript until 1864, 
when it was published by the Jesuit father, J. Tailhan, with im- 
portant editorial notes and a very elaborate index. 

Perrot had trading posts on lake Pepin, exerted a great in- 
fluence over the Indians of Wisconsin, eastern Iowa, and south- 
eastern Minnesota, and derived from them, and from the Indians 
and French of Chequamegon bay, the account of the wanderings 
of the Ottawas and Hurons, with their stay of a few years on 
Prairie island. It is given by his Memoir in its chapter xv, en- 
titled, as translated, "Flight of the Hurons and Ottawas to the 
Mississippi." This statement is very important in its confirmation 
of the view that Radisson's "first landing isle" was no other than 
Prairie island; and therefore it seems desirable to give here a 

close translation of it, which I have made as follows : 

When all the Ottawas were scattered toward the lakes, the Saulteurs 
[Ojibways] and Missisakis [who had lived on the north shore of lake Hu- 
ron] fled to the north, and then to Kionconan [Keweenaw], for the sake of 
hunting; and the Ottawas, fearing that they would not be sufficiently 
strong to resist the incursions of the Iroquois, who would be informed of 
the place where they had made their settlement, tied for refuge to the Mis- 
sissippi river, which is called at the present time the Louisianne. They 
ascended this river to the distance of a dozen leagues or thereabout from 
the Wisconsin river, where they found another river which is called the 
river of the Iowas [the Upper Iowa, heading in the southeastern part 
of Mower county, Minnesota]. They followed it to its source, anil there 
encountered tribes who received them kindly. But in all the extent of 
country which they passed through having -ecu no pi. ire r their 

settlement, by reason that there was no timber at all. and that it showed 
only prairies and smooth plains, though buffaloes and other inimall welt 



in abundance, they resumed their same route to return upon their steps; 
and after having once more reached the Louisianne, they went higher up. 

They were not long there without separating to go to one side and the 
other for hunting: I speak of one party only of their people, whom the 
Sioux encountered, took, and brought to their villages. The Sioux, who 
had not any acquaintance with firearms anH other instruments which they 
saw in their possession, themselves using only knives of stone, as of a mill- 
stone, and axes of chert cobbles, hoped that these new tribes who had 
approached them would share with them the commodities which they 
had ; and, believing that they were supernatural, because they had the use 
of this fire which had no resemblance with all that they had, like the 
stones and other things, just as I have said, they brought them to their 
villages, and afterward restored them to their own people. 

The Ottawas and Hurons received them very well in their turn, with- 
out however giving them large presents. The Sioux came back to their peo- 
ple, with some little things which they bad received from the Ottawas. dis- 
tributed a part to the other villages of their allies, and gave hatchets to 
some and a few knives or awls to others. All these villages sent deputies 
to the Ottawas, where, as soon as they had arrived, they commenced, fol- 
lowing their custom, to shed tears upon all whom they met, for indicating 
to them the unrestrained joy that they had in having found them, and to 
implore them to have pity upon them, by sharing with them this iron which 
they regarded as a divinity. 

The Ottawas, seeing these people weep on all who presented them- 
selves before them, considered it in scorn, and regarded them as people 
much inferior to themselves, incapable even of making war. They gave 
to them also a trifle, be it knives or awls, which the Sioux showed that 
they esteemed very much, raising their eyes to heaven and blessing it for 
having conducted these tribes into their country, who would be able to 
procure for them so powerful means to make an end of their poverty. The 
Ottawas, who had some fowling-pieces, fired them, and the noise that 
they made frightened them so much that they imagined that it was the 
lightning or the thundei, of which they were masters to exterminate whom- 
soever they would. 

The Sicux made a thousand expressions of affection to the Hurons 
and Ottawas everywhere they were, manifesting to them all subservience 
possible, to the end of moving them to compassion, and deriving from it 
some benefit; but the Ottawas had for them so much less of esteem, as 
they persisted in placing themselves before them in these attitudes of 
humiliation. The Ottawas decided finally to choose the Uland named 
Pelee for their settlement, where they were some years in peace Hiej 
there received often the visits of the Sioux. But a day arrived when the 
Hurons, being on the hunt, encountered some Sioux whom thej killed 
The Sioux, in sorrow for their comrades, did not know hid becOHM 
of them; they found some days afterward the dead bodies from which they 
had cut off the head. They returned to their village htttily to bring this 
sad news, and encountered sonic Hurons on the road, whom they tooll 



as prisoners. When they had arrived among their people, the chiefs re- 
leased them and sent them back to their tribe. The Hurons, having so 
much of audacity as to imagine that the Sioux were incapable of resist- 
ing them without weapons of iron and firearms, conspired with the Otta- 
was to attack them and make war upon them, in order to drive them from 
their country, and for themselves to be able to extend farther the range of 
their hunting. The Ottawas and Hurons joined themselves together and 
marched against the Sioux. They believed that as soon as they appeared, 
they would flee ; but they were much deceived, for they resisted their at- 
tacks, and even repelled them, and. if they had not retreated, they 
would have been entirely defeated by the great number of the horde who 
came from other villages of their allies for their help. They pursued them 
even to their settlement, where they were constrained to make a poor 
fort, which did not permit them to be capable to make the Sioux turn 
back, even though they did not dare to attack it. 

The continual raids which the Sioux made upon them obliged them 
to flee. They had acquaintance with a river which we call the Black 
river; they entered it, and, having arrived where it takes its source, the 
Hurons there found a place suitable for fortifying themselves and establish- 
ing their village. The Ottawas pushed farther, and marched to lake Su- 
perior, and fixed their abode at Chequamegon. The Sioux, seeing their 
enemies departed, dwelt in peace without pursuing them farther : but the 
Hurons were not content to stop there: they formed some expeditions 
against them, which produced little effect x drew upon themselves on the 
part of the Sioux frequent raids, and obliged them to quit their fort for 
going to join the Ottawas at Chequamegon, with a great loss of their 

The narrative continues with warfare carried on by the 
Hurons, in the region of Chequamegon bay, against the Sioux of 
the country west and south. In 1670-71 these refugees, fearing 
a Sioux attack and massacre, abandoned their settlements on that 
bay, going again to live on the Manitoulin and Mackinac islands, 
in and adjoining the north part of lake Huron, whence, at 
eighteen years before, in 1652-53, this large part of the exil ' 
Ottawa and Huron tribes had started on their travels to the Il- 
linois, Mississippi, and Upper Iowa rivers, Prairie island, north- 
ern Wisconsin, and Chequamegon bay. , 

To my mind Perrot's narration is a complete proof that 
these refugees spent a few years on Prairie island, whore, as 1ms 
been shown, Groseilliers and Radisson visited them in 1655-50. 
Three years later, in 1059, the Hurons were iouml on the lake* 

•Parts of tha foregoing Bar rati re, and further attracts from ivrroc* work. r«>j. 0.1 
in R'renoh aud translated by Alfred J, Kill, with bit own hipI ['■llkati'i antes, iron 

published by this Society in l«t>7. ami \u-rc reprint* «1 in lv*.\ eiititlrd, *' I ' 

of Perrnr, to f»r as it r**leU* 1 <<> Minnesota mm,i me keulvni immediate)] adjacent. 
(Historical Collet clous, vol. ii, pp, 100 J 1 4 . ) 



at the sources of the Chippewa river, while the Ottawas had come 
to Chequamegon bay, or at least were there the next spring. 

It is clearly known that the Hurons and Ottawas occupied 
Prairie island only four or five years, coming in 1653 or 1654, 
and departing probably in 1658, or perhaps a year earlier. Radis- 
son says that in 1655 they had newly come to Prairie island. Be- 
fore the summer of 1659 the Hurons had temporarily located at 
a lake in northern Wisconsin, thought to be Lac Courte Oreille, 
whence some of them, with O jib ways, went during that sum- 
mer to Montreal and Three Rivers, afterward returning in the 
company of Groseilliers and Radisson. Besides, in harmony with 
Perrot's statement that the Ottawas came earliest to lake Su- 
perior, we have seen that in 1659-60 they were apparently just 
establishing themselves at Chequamegon bay ; for, according to 
Radisson, in the spring of 1660 they built a fort on the long 
beach which incloses this bay at the northeast, now called Oak 

In lineage and language the Hurons were of the extensive 
Iroquoian stock. The name Huron, from a French word, hurc, 
was given to them by the French, in allusion to the ridged and 
bristling arrangement of their hair. Their descendants, known 
after their aboriginal name as Wyandots, now number some 700, 
about half being in the Indian Territory, and half in Canada. 

An interesting sketch of the Tionontates, or Tobacco nation, 
from 161 6, when they were first visited by the French, to the 
period of the Revolutionary War, was given by Shea in the 
Historical Magazine ( vol. V, pp. 262-269, Sept., 1S61). This 
branch of the Huron tribe, whose remnant, probably with other 
fugitive Hurons. we have traced in their wandering to Prairie 
island and Chequamegon bay, originally lived, according to Park- 
man, in the valleys of the Blue mountains, at the south extrem- 
ity of Georgian bay. Their country, including nine villages in 
1640, was two days' journey west from the frontier villages of 
the main body of the Hurons. among whom the Jesuits had very 
successful missions until the Iroquois devastated all that r€gi< 0. 


Franquelin, on his map of North America drafted in [688, 

placed the Nations of Ottawas [Outaouacs] in Wisconsin and 



northeastern Minnesota, indicating, erroneously, that it was a 
collective name for the native tribes of this region. It was often 
so used by the Jesuits and other early French writers, but not by 
the Indians. The Huron name for the Ottawas was Ondata- 
houats, signifying "the people of the forest;" and this name 
became shortened to Ottawas. The French nicknamed them 
as the Cheveux relevez, having crested hair ; whence Radisson 
(pages 148 and 153) called them "the nation of the stairing 
haires." He also gave .this name to lake Huron, where they 
dwelt, limiting his "lake of the hurrons" to Georgian bay. 

From their former homes, on and near lake Huron and on 
its islands, the Ottawas had been dispersed westward, about the 
years 1650-52, by the incursions of the Iroquois. A part of the 
tribe fled, with the Tobacco band of Hurons, to the Mississippi, 
lived a few years with them on Prairie island and in its vicinity, 
and then passed north to Chequamegon bay. The escort of 
Groseilliers and Radisson on their return from Prairie island 
to Quebec included Ottawa Indians ; and Radisson also particu- 
larly mentions the Sinagoes, one of the four principal bands of the 
Ottawas, as a part of the same escort. The Ottawa river re- 
ceived its name from its being the route by which these Indians 
came yearly from lake Huron to trade with the French on the 
lower St. Lawrence. 

In 1670-71 the Ottawas, being driven from Chequamegon 
bay by attacks of the Sioux, returned to the Grand Manitoulin 
island, one of their ancient places of abode, in the north part of 
lake Huron, where the Jesuits established among them a flour- 
ishing mission. They belong to the great Algonquian stock, and 
their language is closely allied with the Ojibway. About 3,000 
of their descendants live in Michigan, in the region of Mack- 
inac, on Grand Traverse and Little Traverse bays, etc.; about 
900 are on Manitoulin and Cockburn islands, lake Huron : and a 
few, about 160. are on a reservation in the Indian Territory, 

A party of Ottawas, coming to the Ilurons during the 
famine in the winter of 1650-60. obtained a share of their very 
scanty food supplies, increasing the severity of the general starv- 
ation. Again, on Chequamegon hay. Ottawas exacted .1 
recompense from Groseilliers and Radisson tor aiding them 
when the latter was chilled and exhausted in dragging their 
sleds, laden with merchandise and furs, RCrOSS the melting ice 



of the bay. Remembering their conduct on these occasions, Rad- 
isson ranked them as the lowest among "four score nations"' of 
the Indians whom he had known. 


Green bay was known to the French in Radisson's time 
as the Bay of the Puants, or Winnebagoes ; and their name is 
now borne by the large Winnebago lake on the old canoe route 
from Green bay by the Fox river to the Wisconsin and the 
Mississippi. They were there visited by Jean Xicolet in the 
winter of 1634-35, and by Groseilliers and Radisson in the winter 
of 1654-55. From the Winnebago country our two French 
traders, with a hundred and fifty Indians, tramped on snow- 
shoes in the, early spring of 1655 to the Mississippi, and thence as- 
cended this river to visit the Fluron and Ottawa settlement on 
Prairie island. 

The Winnebagoes were an outlying tribe of the Siouan 
stock, mainly surrounded by Algonquian tribes. Their name, 
meaning the People of the Stinking Water, that is, of the sea. 
was adopted by the French from its use among the Algonquins, 
just as the name Sioux was received from the O jib way and 
other Algonquian languages. The populous and powerful Win- 
nebogoes continued in possession of the same area during two 
centuries after they first became known to history. In 1832 
they ceded their country south and east of the Fox and Wiscon- 
sin rivers to the United States, and afterward many of the tribe 
were removed to northeastern Iowa. Thence, in 1848. they 
were removed to Long Prairie, in the central part of the present 
state of Minnesota ; and in 1855 tne X were again removed, to a 
reservation in Blue Earth county of this state. In 1863. after 
the Sioux outbreak, they were removed to a reservation in Da- 
kota; and in 1866 to a more suitable reservation in Nebraska, 
where this part of the Winnebago tribe now numbers about 
1,100. A larger number, stated by Grinnell as about 1.450. Btall 
live in Wisconsin. 


By the early French VOyageurs and writers the Ojlbwayi 
were commonly called Saultcurs, from their once living in large 
numbers about the Sault Ste. Marie. Their area, however, also 



comprised a great part of the shores of lakes Huron and Supe- 
rior, with the adjoining country to variable distances inland 
During the eighteenth century they much extended their range 
southwestward, driving the Sioux from the wooded part of 
Minnesota, and also spreading across the Red river valley to 
the Turtle mountain on the boundary between North Dakota and 
Manitoba. In English their name appears, in a corrupted form, 
as Chippewas. Radisson called them Panoestigons, indicating 
this appellation to be an Ojibway equivalent of Saulteurs; and 
the same name is used in a few places, under different forms, 
Baouichtigouian, Pauoitigoueieuhak, Paouitagoung, and Pahouit- 
ingouach, by the Jesuit Relations. 

It is asserted by Warren that the name Ojibway means, 
"To roast till puckered up," referring to the torture of prisoners 
taken in war. This seems to me to be a more probable origin 
than any of the several others that have been advocated, as the 
puckering or plaiting of the moccasin ; a puckering of the lips in 
speaking or drinking; the drawling pronunciation of words, 
which is said by Belcourt to characterize these people ; or the con- 
traction of the lakes toward the strait of Mackinac, once their 
refuge from the Iroquois, or toward St. Mary's river and falls, 
as was suggested by Governor Ramsey.* 

When Groseilliers and Radisson came to the Sault Ste, 
Marie, in 1659, the country was deserted, the Ojibways formerly 
there having fled westward before the fury of Iroquois rangers. 
Among the characteristics of the Ojibways which we discern in 
Radisson's writings is an aptitude for commercial enterprises, 
as they came yearly with their furs to Montreal and Quebec ; and 
in the spring of 1660 Ojibway traders, after trafficking among 
the Sioux of the Prairies, returned with our Frenchmen to 
Chequamegon bay. 

About 9,000 Ojibways are now living in northern Minne- 
sota; about 2,200 in the vicinity of Devil's lake and Turtle 
mountain, Xorth Dakota; 3,000 in Wisconsin; and probably 
4,000 in Michigan. Their population in the United States is thui 
about 18,000. Nearly as many other Ojibways live in the Can- 
adian province of Ontario, north of lakes Huron and Superior, 
and farther northwest in Manitoba: so that their entire numbers 

♦Minnesota Tl^torfcal Society Collections, vol. v, "fllatOM of the Ojibw U V.: ' 
T>p. 30. 37, 82, 107, 399. 


are about 35,000. They are the largest tribe or division of the 
very widely spread Algonquian stock. 

Both in Canada and the United States the Ojibways have 
generally manifested a disposition for peace with the white set- 
tlers. But in the early history of Minnesota, and during a hun- 
dred years before this territory was organized, they were almost 
continually hostile to the Sioux or Dakotas, with frequent raids, 
conflicts between small war parties, and ambuscades and mur- 
ders by each of these wily hereditary foes. 

William W. Warren, whose mother was an O jib way, pre- 
pared, in 1851-53, an extended and very valuable ''History of the 
Ojibway Nation," chiefly relating to its part in Minnesota and 
Wisconsin, which was published in 1885 as Volume V of this 
Society's Historical Collections. In Volume IX of the same se- 
ries, published in 1901, Rev. Joseph A. Gilfillan, who during more 
than twenty years was a very devoted missionary among the 
Ojibways in the White Earth reservation and other large parts of 
northern Minnesota, has contributed a paper of 74 pages, viv- 
idly portraying the habits and mode of life of this people, their 
customs and usages in intercourse with each other and with the 
white people, their diverse types of physical and mental devel- 
opment and characteristics, and much of their recent history. 

Conflicts which were waged long and fiercely between the 
Ojibways and the Sioux for the possession of northeastern Min- 
nesota, and the results of extended researches concerning the art- 
ificial mounds and primitive men of this region, are set forth by 
Hon. J. V. Brower in three admirable monographs, Mille Lac, 
published in 1900; Kathio, in 1901 ; and Kakabikansing, in 1902. 


The aboriginal tribes and bands who were called by Rad- 
isscn the Nadoneeeronons (more commonly, by other writers, 
the Nadouesioux) or Nation of the Beef, that is, the Buffalo, 
inhabited nearly all of the present state of Minnesota, and also 
a large extent of the great prairie region farther south anil west, 
in Iowa, Nebraska and the Dakotas. The StOUX and Assini- 
boines were first brought to the knowledge of Europeans in the 

Jesuit Relation of 1640. being reported to the writer, by Jean 
Nicolct, as living in the neighborhood of the Winnebagoea. In 
the Relation of 1642, information from Fathers Ra\ mbanlt and 



Jogues defined their country as nine days' journey beyond the 
west end of lake Superior. 

Groseilliers and Radisson were the first of white men to 
visit the Sioux. They laid the foundation for fur trading, and 
counseled peace with the Crees and other tribes, against whom 
the Sioux, "the Iroquois of the West," had frequent wars. After 
the great "feast of the dead," when they thus sought to reconcile 
the Sioux and Crees, the French traders went to see the Sioux of 
the Buffalo Prairies in their own country. On their return to 
Montreal and Quebec, they described these travels ; but, so far 
as the Jesuit Relations and Journal inform us, had not a word 
to say concerning the alleged journey to Hudson bay, which 
Radisson appears to have fabricated, telling it to the English in 
order to obtain better terms for service in founding the English 
fur trade there. 

The locality of the feast and council with the Sioux, and 
with the Crees who were later invited, we have identified as 
somewhere on or near Knife river and lake in Kanabec county, 
Minnesota. These Frenchmen probably did not go to the very 
extensive settlement of the Sioux in the neighborhood of the 
mouth of Mifle Lacs, only one or two days' journey westward 
from their Sioux and Cree feast. It is unfortunate that the 
name of that "great village of the Nadouesioux, called Izatys. 
where never had a Frenchman been," as stated by Du Luth, pre- 
vious to his own visit there on July 2, 1679, was misread by 
Brodhead, in the original manuscript of Du Luth's letter or 
memoir, as "Kathio," transcribing Iz of Izatys as "K," and ys 
as "hio" (Documents relating - to the Colonial Historv of the 
State of New York, Volume IX, published in 1855, page 795). 
Brodhead undoubtedly had before him the same manuscript that 
was used by Shea for his translation in 1880 (Hennepin's Dis- 
covery of Louisiana, Appendix, page 375"), and by Margry tor 
his French publication in 1886 (Margry Papers, Volume VI, 
page 22). Neill, Winchell, Hill, Brower, Coues, and the present 
writer, have been misled into using the name Kathio by Brod- 
head's error. It has been so much used, indeed, that it may be 
well retained as a synonym of Izatys. 

The name Sioux is the terminal part of Nadotiessis Of 
Nadouesioux, a term of hatred, meaning snakes, enemies, winch 


was applied by the Ojibways and other Algonquins to this peo- 
ple, and sometimes also to the Iroquois. Under this long- Algon- 
quian name they were commonly designated by the Jesuit Re- 
lations, by Du Luth and Hennepin, by La Salle in 1682 on the 
lower Mississippi, and Perrot in 1689 at Fort St. Antoine on 
lake Pepin, when they eac-h took formal possession of this region 
for France, and by other early writings and maps. Soon after- 
ward, however, in Perrot's Memoir, and in the journals of Le 
Sueur and Penicaut, it had been shortened to its present form ; 
but, much later, Carver again used the old unabbreviated name, 
probably because of acquaintance with f he writings of Henne- 
pin. The Sioux tribes dislike this alien name, and call them- 
selves, collectively, Dakotas, that is, allies or confederates. 

In the narration of his pretended journey to the Gulf of 
Mexico, Radisson stated that the "people that dwelleth about 
the salt water .... are called Tatarga, that is to say, burr," 
meaning the buffalo, the Sioux or Dakota name of the buffalo 
being tatanka. He added that they went to war yearly against 
the Sioux and the Crees, showing that he supposed the Tatarga 
to be a distinct tribe or people. Again, in the account of his 
fictitious year in the second western expedition, describing the 
Crees in the region of Hudson bay, Radisson referred to their 
having "a stone of Turquois from the nation of the buff and 
beefe, with whome they had warrs." At the end of the narra- 
tion of this expedition, Radisson gave a list of the names 0! 
thirty-one Indian nations or tribes in the South, and another List 
of forty-one nations in the North, noting in each case that many 
of these tribes had been destroyed by the Iroquois. The four 
names ending the latter list are Christinos (Crees), Nadoucercn- 
ons (Sioux), Ouinipigousek (Winnebagoes), and Tatanga, the 
last being certainly intended to be identical with the Tatarga 
here mentioned. Radisson says in the brief comment following 
the list of the South: "All these Nations are sedentaries, and live 
upon corn and other grains, by hunting and fishing, which is 
plentiful, and by the ragouts of roots;" and, concerning the tribes 
of the North: "The two last [Winnebagoes and Tatanga] arc 
sedentary and doc reap, and all the rest are wandering people, 
that live by their hunting and Fishing, and some few of Rice th Li 
they doe labour for." 



With little knowledge of the people named Tatanga, Rad- 
isson appears to have thus referred to one of the large divisions 
of the mainly nomadic Sioux of the western prairies and plains, 
the same which Le Sueur, writing about forty years later, called 
the Tintangaoughiatons, translating it as the Village of the Great 
Cabin or Tepee. This identification was first suggested by J. 
V. Brower and Alfred J. Hill in the seventh volume of this So- 
ciety's Historical Collections. The translation is more properly 
rendered by Hennepin, as "the Nation of the prairies, who are 
called Tintonha," from the Sioux word tint ah, a prairie. They 
are the present Tintonwans, Titonwans, or Tetons, comprising 
many bands of Sioux who ranged over southern and western 
Minnesota and onward to the vast country of plains west of the 

Some bands of this people of the huffalo prairies, imper- 
fectly known to Radisson as the Tatarga or Tatanga, lived not 
far westward of Prairie island, and by their later hostility com- 
pelled the Huron and Ottawa refugees to forsake their temporary 
home there, fleeing into northern Wisconsin. These prairie In- 
dians, not recognized by the Frenchmen to be the same with the 
Nadouesioux, as they were called by the Ojibways, were almost 
surely represented, under the name "ticacon," in the motley 
retinue, from many tribes, who went with Groseilliers and Rad- 
isson from Prairie island to Montreal and Quebec. 

The Tetons now number about 16,000; all the other Sioux 
or Dakotas in the United States number about 11,000; and their 
small bands in Canada, about 850. The entire Sioux people are 
thus approximately 28,000. In the times of Radisson and Hen- 
nepin they had probably somewhat greater numbers. The for- 
mer was told that they had seven thousand men, that is, war- 
riors; and the latter wrote: "These Indians number eight or nine 
thousand warriors, very brave, great runners, and very good 

About 15,000 other Indians belong to the Siouan stock or 
family, which, besides the Sioux proper or Dakotas. includes 
also the Assiniboines or Stone Sioux, a tribe that seceded from 
the Sioux a few centuries ago. now numbering \do; 
the Omahas, nearly 1,200; the Foncas, about 800; the Osagcs. 
nearly 1,800; the Winuebagoes, about 2.500. as before noted; 



the Crows, some 2,000; and small remnants of the Kansas or 
Kaws, Iowas, Mandans, and several other tribes. 

Near the Atlantic coast, numerous other Siouan tribes, 
some of whom were powerful, lived in Virginia and Xorth and 
South Carolina, as made known by the researches of Hale, Gats- 
chet, and Mooney; but they have dwindled until now only a few 
score of their people remain. From that eastern country the 
Sioux of the upper Mississippi and Missouri rivers probably came 
by migration along the Ohio, passing mostly to the west of the 
Mississippi several centuries before the discovery of America. 

After the conquest of the Mille Lacs region by the O jib ways, 
estimated by Brower to have taken place about 1750 or a few 
years earlier, the Mdewakantonwan Sioux, that is, those of Spirit 
lake, named Mille Lacs by the French, retreated to the south 
and established themselves on the Mississippi. Previously, in the 
year 1700, the vicinity of the Mississippi along the southeast 
border of the area of Minnesota was a neutral and mostly un- 
inhabited country, called by the Indians a ''road of war," as 
Le Sueur wrote, ''between the Scioux and Outagamis [Foxes], 
because the latter, who dwell on the east side of the Mississippi, 
pass this road continually when going to war against the Scioux." 
Carver, ascending the Mississippi in 1766, found villages of 
Sioux, called the river bands, who had probably come from 
Mille Lacs since 1750, then living "near the river St. Croix." 
and his map shows them somewhat above that stream, in the 
neighborhood of St. Paul. 

During the next forty years they extended , much farther 
south. In 1805,' Pike found the Minowa Kantong, as he wrote 
for Mdewakantonwans, beginning near Prairie du Chien and 
reaching along the course of the Mississippi to the mouth of the 
Minnesota, and also thirty-five miles up the latter river. These 
were the same as the Issati or Isanti tribe of Hennepin, who in 
1680 and later lived in the region of Mille Lacs and the Rum 
river. They were apparently the largest tribe among the teven 
enumerated by Le Sueur as the Sioux of the East. Their de- 
scendants, now called Santees, number nearly 1.300. of v 
about 1,000 are on the Santee reservation in Nebraska, ami the 
others at Flandrau, South Dakota. 

Leavenworth, in l82I, in giving his written testimony C ''- 
cerning the Carver land grant, said that the Sioux of the Plainl 



never owned land on the east side of the Mississippi ; but al- 
ready the former Sioux of Milk Lacs, having spread along this 
river far southward, deserved, as he thought, their distinctive 
designation as the Sioux of the River. They had become so 
fully possessors of the adjoining southwestern border of Wis- 
consin, previously owned by the Outagami or Fox tribe, that 
they exacted and received tribute for timber cut and rafted by 
Frenchmen from the Chippewa river. 

Directly after the Sioux outbreak of 1862, nearly all of 
these Indians who had lived in Minnesota, belonging in numer- 
ous bands, fled or were removed to Dakota. Less than 200 full- 
blood Sioux remain in this state, and about 700 of mixed blood, 
mostly near Morton and Shakopee on the Minnesota river, in and 
near Mendota, at its mouth, and on Prairie island. 

Rev. Stephen R. Riggs, aided by other missionaries among 
the Sioux, prepared a very useful "Grammar and Dictionary of 
the Dakota Language/' which was published in 1852 by the 
Smithsonian Institution, under the patronage of this Minnesota 
Historical Society, being the fourth volume (338 pages) of the 
Smithsonian Contributions to Knowledge. The part of this work- 
comprising the Dakota-English Dictionary, much enlarged, was 
republished in 1890, as Volume VII (665 pages) of the U. S. 
Geographical and Geological Survey of the Rocky Mountain Re- 
gion. But an ample history of the Sioux, similar to Warren's 
work for the Ojibways, remains to be written and is much 
needed. * 


North of the Sioux country and adjoining it, a vast forest 
area was occupied by the Crees, who, after the Ojibways, are 
the next largest tribe of the great Algonquian stock. Their 
name, spelled Christinos by Radisson. appears under a dozen 
forms, or more, in the Jesuit Relations and other works, as 
Cristinaux. Kilistinons, Kinistinons. etc. Rev. George A. Bcl- 
court, long a missionary on the Red, Assiniboine. and Saskatch- 
ewan rivers, stated, in the first volume of this Society 9 ! Histor- 
ical Collections, that the Crees call themselves Kinishtinak, that 

•After th-sc patfes are ready for the press. T receive the Sr>uth Dakota Historical Society 
Collect ions, Volume 11. published in October, IN) I. containing, as its Part II. " \ Historv .->! 
the Dakota or Sioux Indlan.t" 528 paget, hv Do. me K<»binsou, Secretary. It treats briefly 
of the early history, but EDOf« tun) ol tht tail lixt] >cars. 



is, held by the winds, referring to their dwelling on large lakes 
where in windy weather they could not travel with their little 
canoes. In Radisson's time, the Cree canoes, as described by him, 
were so small that they could carry only one or two persons, 
being the smallest seen by him among all the Indian tribes. 
Their country then extended into northern Minnesota, to the 
northwest shore and west end of lake Superior; east to lake 
Nipigon and James bay ; far northward along the southwest side 
of Hudson bay; and west to lake Winnipeg and the Saskatch- 
- ewan. Franquelin's map, in 1688, called lake Winnipeg the 
Lake of the Crees, and lake Manitoba the Lake of the Assin- 

Awatanik, who, as before narrated, traveled in 1659 along 
the shore of Hudson bay, told of the Crees there as follows : 
"He noticed especially the Kilistinons, who are divided among 
nine different residences, some of a thousand, others of fifteen 
hundred men; they are settled in large villages, where they leave 
their wives and children while they chase the Moose and hunt the 

Dablon, in the Jesuit Relation of 1670-71, wrote (vol. lv. p. 
99) : "Finally, the Kilistinons are dispersed through the whole 
Region to the North of this Lake Superior, — possessing neither 
corn, nor fields, nor any fixed abode; but forever wandering 
through those vast Forests, and seeking a livelihood there by 

Within the next hundred years after the western expeditions 
of Groseilliers and Radisson, the Crees mostly withdrew from 
Minnesota and lake Superior, yielding to the encroaching O jib- 
ways. At the present time their geographic area reaches from 
James and Hudson bays west to lakes Winnipeg and Manitoba, 
northwest almost to Athabaska lake and river, and through Sas- 
katchewan and Alberta to the Rocky mountains. In their west- 
ern extension they were separated from the country of the 
Sioux proper by that of the Assiniboines, who. beginning at the 
Lake of the Woods and the feed river of the North, ranged 
over the prairies and plains of southern Manitoba, Assiniboia, 
and northern Montana. The Crees now number RDOUt 15.000, 
all living in Canada, and are the largest of the Canadian Indian 



Traversing the eastern part of their country, which for 
journeys afoot is possible only in winter, one passes through 
forests alternating with small and large tracts of peat swamps, 
called muskegs, treeless or bearing a few tamaracks, and often 
inclosing a pond or lake, Hence the Crees in that region are 
commonly named the Swampy Crees. Northwestward, where 
the timber is more continuous, they are called Wood Crees; 
and those who roam over the shrubby and grassy expanses of 
Alberta are the Plain Crees. But through all their great areal 
extent, they differ only very slightly in tribal character or in 
their language, which is nearly related to the Ojibway and other 
Algonquian languages. It is also to be noted that generally or 
always they have maintained peace with their Algonquian neigh- 
bors, and also with the Assimboines, who, when seceding from 
the Sioux, placed themselves under the protection of the Crees. 

Eleven years after the council held with the Sioux and Crees 
by Groseilliers and Radisson, the earliest pioneers of the fur 
trade in Minnesota, St. Lusson, with Perrot as his interpreter, 
summoned to the Sault Ste. Marie delegations from many na- 
tions or tribes of the upper Great Lakes and of the country 
farther north and west. They came, at the time appointed, from 
fourteen tribes, including the Crees and Assiniboines. On June 
14, 1671, aided by Father Allouez, Perrot, and about twenty oth- 
ers of the French, St. Lusson, as a representative for Louis 
XIV, secured the assent of these Indians to his taking possession 
of their country, formally and with imposing ceremony, for 
France, promising in return to protect the Indians against any 
invading enemies. This treaty, if it may be so called, aimed to 
ally the native tribes with the French in opposition to the English, 
who were then establishing their trade on Hudson bay. 

More like the work of Groseilliers and Radisson. for cul- 
tivating peace among the Indian tribes and alliance with France, 
were the efforts of Du Luth eight years after the com 
at Sault Ste. Marie. I lis report reads as follows, translated 
by Shea, with slight changes in proper names to accord with 
the original French text published in the Margry Papers. 

On the 2d of July, 1670. I had the honor to plant his majesty*! nr:n<; 
in the great village of the Nadoucsioux, called Izatys. whore never had a 
Frenchman been, no more than at the Songastikons and Houcthatons, dis- 



tant six score leagues from the former, where I also planted his majesty"s 
arms, in the same year 1679. 

On the 15th of September, having given the Assenipoualakg [Assin- 
iboines] as well as all the other northern nations a rendezvous at the 
extremity of lake Superior to induce them to make peace with the Nadoue- 
sioux, their common enemy, they were all there, and I was happy enough 
to gain their esteem and friendship, and. in order that the peace might 
be lasting among them, I thought that I couid not cement it better than by 
inducing the nations to make reciprocal marriages with each other, which 
I could not effect without great expense. The following winter I made 
them hold meetings in the woods, which I attended, in order that they 
might hunt together, give banquets, and, by this means, contract a closer 

Between the second western expedition narrated by Radis- 
son and this tour into Minnesota by Du Luth, we have no rec- 
ords of white men in this state. Separated by nearly twenty 
years, these forerunners of commerce and civilization earnestly 
sought, in the same region and by similar methods of persuasion, 
to win the Indian tribes to peace with each other and traffic 
with the French. A few years later came Perrot and Le Sueur, 
establishing trading posts on the Mississippi and on lake Su- 
perior, in the locations thought to be best for securing and main- 
taining intertribal peace, especially between the Ojibways and 

Progress of Discovery of the Mississippi River. 

As Groseilliers and Radisson have the distinction of being 
the first white men to reach the upper Mississippi, it will be 
desirable to notice the successive steps of discovery by which this 
great river became known to Europeans. 

Recent historical researches indicate that it was earliest dis- 
covered and mapped in a voyage of Pinzon ami Sotfs, with 
Amerigo Vespucci as astronomer and cartographer, probably in 
March or April, 1498, less than six years tivm the first landfall 
of Columbus. Twenty-ohe years then parsed before the Mis- 
sissippi was next seen in the voyage of Pineda, in 1519. being 
reached by ascending a bayou from lakes Pontehartrain and 
Maurepas. In 1528 one of the mouths of the Mississippi was 
seen in the forlorn last voyage of Xarvaez ; and in 1541 tins 
river was crossed, far above its mouth, by the ambitious but 



ill-fated expedition of De Soto, and after his death it was de- 
scended by the survivors in boats to the gulf. Four times the 
Spaniards, within a period of forty-three years, reached by sea 
and by land the lower part of the Mississippi. They sought 
gold or silver in vain, and the extreme disasters of the two last 
expeditions caused them to abandon their purpose of planting 
colonies and making this region a part of Xew Spain. The 
entire river, excepting its sources, was to be explored and owned 
by others, but much later, for acquiring wealth by commerce, and 
for extending the dominion of France. 

More than a hundred years after De Soto, the Mississippi 
was rediscovered by Europeans, this time in its upper course, 
when our two Frenchmen in 1655, with many Indian canoes, 
ascended it from near the Wisconsin river to Prairie island ; 
and they crossed it higher, at or near the site of Minneapolis, 
in 1660. 

Eighteen years after Groseilliers and Radisson first came, 
Joliet and Marquette navigated the Mississippi for a long dis- 
tance southward from the Wisconsin river, to the Arkansas: 
and again, after seven years more, in 1680, it was navigated 
between the Illinois and the Rum river by Hennepin, and also, 
above the Wisconsin, by Du Luth. In 1682 La Salle led an 
expedition from the Illinois to the mouth of the Mississippi, 
and there proclaimed its vast drainage area to be the property 
of France. A few years later, about 1685-90, Le Sueur and his 
relative by marriage, Charleville, canoed from lake Pepin up- 
ward beyond the falls of St. Anthony, probably to Sandy lake : 
and in the last year of the seventeenth century, just forty-live 
years after Groseilliers superintended corn-raising by the HurOQS 
on Prairie island, Le Sueur and a large mining party navigated 
the whole extent of the Mississippi from near its mouth to the 
Minnesota river, and then advanced up that stream to the Blue 
Earth river. 

To glance somewhat more definitely at these several stag - I E 
exploration of our great river, during the fust two centuries oi 
its written history, will give a more adequate comprehension 
of what these earliest white men in Minnesota might have con- 
tributed to geographic knowledge, it the) had surmised the 
length and magnitude of the Mississippi, and had not chosen to 
conceal their discoveries from their countrymen. 



Without seeking or suggestion by himself, the name of 
Amerigo Vespucci (also commonly known, in Latin as Amer- 
icus Vespucius) was bestowed upon the New World, of which, 
next after Columbus, he was the most notable discoverer in the 
sense of bringing to the knowledge of Europe what he saw in 
four voyages. Though not in chief command of these expe- 
ditions, Vespucci was a skilled geographer, and his sen-ices as 
astronomer and pilot were required to determine and chart their 
courses, with the newly discovered lands. His letters of descrip- 
tion, written to friends without expectation of publication, were 
printed and proved to be of such popular interest that they 
passed through many editions and translations, leading to the ad- 
option of the name America, after his death, on maps and globes. 
It was at first applied to Brazil, which Vespucci coasted on his 
second, third, and fourth voyages, and was later extended to 
both North and South America. In his first voyage, with four 
vessels, leaving Spain May 10, 1497, and returning October 15, 
1498, he appears to have sailed along the shores of Honduras, 
Yucatan, the Gulf of Mexico, Florida, and our southeastern sea- 
board north to Pamlico sound. 

Between Vespucci and Columbus a cordial and mutual 
friendship existed, and the Florentine pilot had no wish nor 
thought of taking away from the Genoese admiral any part of 
the honor and gratitude due to him. Both sailed in the service of 
Spain, but Vespucci also made two voyages for Portugal. It 
was a Latin book by a German geographer, Waldseenniiler, pub- 
lished in the little college town of St. Die. in a valley of the 
Vosges mountains of northeastern France, April 25, 1507, which 
first proposed the name America for the region described by 
Vespucci south of the equator. There was at that time no in- 
tention to include under it the countries farther north discovers I 
and explored by Columbus, Cabot, and other navigators. Wins r 
and Fiske have traced very instructively the growth 01' F.ur. peail 
knowledge of the New World, whereby it waa finally Leai 
that all the coasts explored from Labrador to the strait of Ma- 
gellan are connected parts of one vast continent, on which Mer- 
cator bestowed the single name America in 1541, twentv-ninc 
years after Vespucci's death. 



Succeeding generations long imputed blame to Vespucci for 
this supplanting of Columbus in the name of the new continent; 
but either would have scorned to wrong the other, or to falsify 
or exaggerate intentionally in the narrations of their voyages. 
The personal honor of Vespucci has been vindicated by the re- 
searches of Alexander Humboldt and the Brazilian historian, 
Varnhagen; and the latter, in 1865 and 1869, well ascertained that 
Vespucci's first voyage, made in 1497-98, concerning which 
much doubt and misunderstanding remained because of the lack 
of many details in the narration, was the source of the first 
mapping of Yucatan, the Gulf of Mexico, and Florida. In 
Vespucci's chart of that very early date the Mississippi river 
was unmistakably delineated, with a three-mouthed delta pro- 
jecting into the gulf. 

Varnhagen's luminous researches, published between thirty 
and forty years ago, were brought more fully to the attention 
of readers of our English language by Hubert Howe Bancroft 
in 1883 (Central America, vol i, pp. 99-107), and especially 
by John Fiske's work, The Discovery of America, published in 
1892. No official reports nor chart of Vespucci's first voyage, 
which was probably under the commandership of Pinzon and 
Solis, are preserved ; but two very early maps, called the Cantino 
map and the Admiral's map, evidently drafted in part from the 
chart of that expedition, still exist, and were essentially repro- 
duced ten years ago by Harrisse, Winsor, and Fiske, in their 
elaborate discussions of the Columbian and later discoveries. 

Waldseemuller, the geographer at St. Die, drafted the sec- 
ond of these maps, at some date probably after 1504 ami cer- 
tainly not later than 1508. It was published at Strasburc: in an 
edition of Ptolemy in 15 13, and was entitled "Tabula Terre 
Nove." It contains a reference to a "former Admiral," probably 
Columbus. This map bears testimony of an expedition, regard- 
ed as the one described by Vespucci as his first voyage, which 
passed the Mississippi and charted its mouths; for, west of th<^ 
Atlantic coast and Florida, where the shores and name* are 
closely like the Cantino map, Waidseemfiller gave a distorted 
outline of the Gulf of Mexico, with a large river emptying into 
it by three mouths, pushing its delta far into the gulf, in whieh 
respect the Mississippi surpasses any other river, this being in- 


deed the most remarkable feature of its embouchure. I cannot 
doubt, therefore, that Vespucci sailed past the Mississippi delta 
early in the year 1498, surveying the mouths of the river from the 
masthead, or very likely entering the river and spending some 
time there. 

pineda, 1 5 19. 

The exploration of this coast was not resumed until Ponce 
de Leon voyaged to Florida and gave it this name for Easter 
Sunday (Pascua Florida), March 27, 1513, when he sighted its 
low coast. Six years later, in 15 19, Alonso Alvarez de Pineda 
(or Pinedo) was sent as commander of*an expedition of three 
or four sailing vessels to explore the coast farther west, under 
a commission from Garay, the governor of the Spanish settle- 
ment in Jamaica. The resulting map, transmitted by Garay to 
Spain, gives a somewhat correctly proportioned outline of the 
entire gulf, with Florida, Cuba, and Yucatan inclosing it on 
the east; and the Mississippi is named Rio del Espiritu Santo 
(River of the Holy Spirit). In Harrisse's Discovery of Xorth 
America (1892, p. 168), a translation from the contemporary 
Spanish acount of this expedition says, concerning the Missis- 
sippi, that the ships "entered a river which was found to be 
very large and very deep, at the mouth of which they say 
they found an extensive town, where they remained forty days 
and careened their vessels. The natives treated our men in a 
friendly manner, trading with them, and giving what they pos- 
sessed. The Spaniards ascended a distance of six leagues up the 
river, and saw on its banks, right and left, forty villages.*' 

Pineda's map shows the Mississippi as if it had a wide 
mouth, growing wider like a bay in going inland, and it has no 
representation of the delta: but this river and the several others 
tributary to the gulf are all mapped only at their mouths. What 
he meant for the Mississippi is more clearly indicated by the 
map sent to Spain by Cortes and published there in 1524. which 
shows the Rio del Espiritu Santo flowing through two lakes close 
to its mouth, evidently intended to represent lakes Pofltdurtrain 
and Borgne. The same delineation of the lower Mississippi is 
given also by the Turin map, of about the year 1523. Both these 
maps, doubtless based on information supplied by Pineda, dis- 


play the course of the Mississippi above lake Pontchartrain to a 
distance of apparently at least a hundred miles, where it is 
represented as formed by three confluent streams. Through ques- 
tioning the Indians, he probably learned of the Red river, and of 
its northern tributary, the Black river, which would be the two 
inflowing streams at nearly the distance mentioned from lake 

The little ships of Pineda's expedition therefore must -be 
supposed, according to these maps, to have entered the Missis- 
sippi by one of its numerous outflowing navigable bayous, which, 
before the construction of levees, discharged a considerable part 
of the waters of the great river through lakes Maurepas, Pont- 
chartrain, and Borgne. The Indian town noted at the mouth of 
the river may have been at the mouth of the bayou, that is, on 
or near lake Maurepas ; or it may have been near the chief place 
of outflow from the main river, which most probably then, as 
in recent times, was at the Bayou Manchac, 117 miles above 
the site of Xew Orleans by the course of the river, and 14 miles 
below Baton Rouge. There is no reason to distrust the state- 
ment that within six leagues thence up the Mississippi the Span- 
iards observed forty groups of temporary or permanent Indian 
dwellings. If the ships only entered the mouth of the bayou 
(or of the Amite river, through which the several bayous send 
their waters to the lake), being there careened and repaired, it 
is easy to infer that some of the Spaniards ascended the Amite 
river and the Bayou Manchac in small boats to the Mississippi, 
noted the width of that mighty stream, sounded its great depth, 
and reported its Indian villages. The delta, jutting out as a long 
cape, was neglected by Pineda in his mapping, which was ac- 
cepted generally by cartographers. The chart of Vesucci's first 
voyage, more truthful as to this river's embouchure, had been 
lost and forgotten. 

Harrisse, from a thorough study of records of Pineda's cruise, 
concludes that he came to the Mississippi in April or May, 1 5 19, 
remained at the Indian town forty days, as stated, and went on- 
ward, exploring the coast of Louisiana and Texas, in June and 
July. He coasted beyond the Panuco river, but turned back 
when he reached the neighborhood of Vera Cruz, already oc- 
cupied by Cortes. The next year Pineda again voyaged to the 


Panuco, with many men and horses, to establish a colony, in 
which endeavor he and most of his company were killed by the 

The recent discussions of Pineda's discoveries by Dr. Walter 
B. Scaife and others, who think that the Rio del Espiritu Santo 
was not the Mississippi, but that it was the Mobile river, with 
the • Mobile bay at its mouth, will be most properly considered 
after our further notice of the route of Moscoso in the retreat 
down the Mississippi after De Soto's death, and of the route of 
Le Sueur, who was the first to pass along almost the entire navi- 
gable length of this river. 


Grandly but ignorantly planned, the expedition of Pam- 
philo (or Panfilo) de Narvaez, for exploration and colonization 
of the country north of the Gulf of Mexico, from Florida west- 
ward nearly to the Panuco river, over which he had been given 
the title of governor, was most utterly disastrous. Out of the 
three hundred men who began this expedition, only Cabeza de 
Vaca, the historian of their shipwrecks and wanderings, with 
three others, survived to reach Spanish settlements. 

In April, 1528, after a stormy voyage from Cuba, Narvaez 
landed on the west coast of Florida, probably at Tampa bay. 
With great hardships, the expedition, mostly afoot, but having 
forty horses, marched through woods and swamps, crossed riv- 
ers, found an Indian town called Apalachen, and, finally turning 
back, came again to the sea, probably at the site of St. Mark's, 
about fifty miles east of the Appalachicola river. Not finding 
his ships, on which he expected to re-embark, Narvaez consulted 
his followers, and they decided, although destitute of tools, to 
construct boats, and voyage westward along the coast. More 
than forty had died of disease and hunger, and ten had been 
killed, within sight of their camp and boat-building, by arrows 
of Indian foes, before they embarked, late in September, reduce I 
to the number of two hundred and forty-seven, in five trail ves- 
sels, to be propelled by oars, but also provided with sails. They 
had no adequate means to carry water, and consequently suffered 
terribly by thirst, as also by hunger. On the sea they were in 
great peril during storms; and on landing they were assailed by 
the Indians with stones and arrows. 



About the end of October the wretched flotilla reached the 
Mississippi, of which Cabeza de Vaca wrote in his Relation, as 
translated by Buckingham Smith: 

My boat, which was first, discovered a point made by the land, and, 
against a cape opposite, passed a broad river. I cast anchor near a little 
island forming the point, to await the arrival of the other boats. The 
Governor did not choose to come up, and entered a bay near by in which 
were a great many islets. We came together there, and took fresh, water 
from the sea, the stream entering it in freshet. To parch some of the 
maize we brought with us, since we had eaten it raw for two days, we 
went on an island ; but finding no wood we agreed to go to the river be- 
yond the point, one league off. By no effort could we get there, so violent 
was the current on the way, which drove us out, while we contended and 
strove to gain the land. The north wind, which came from the shore, 
began to blow so strongly that it forced us to sea without our being able 
to overcome it. We sounded half a league out, and found with thirty 
fathoms we could not get bottom; but we were unable to satisfy our- 
selves that the current was not the cause of failure. 

During the next week the boats, being rowed and drifted 
westward, were separated by storms; that of Narvaez may have 
foundered; others were driven ashore and wrecked. Those of 
the men who escaped from the sea mostly perished by hunger and 
cold, while some were enslaved by the Indians. Cabeza de Vaca 
was held in servitude on and near the island where he was 
wrecked, probably the island of Galveston, during about six 
years. Thence escaping, with two Spaniards and a negro of their 
company, he wandered across Texas, Chihuahua, and Sonora, 
securing the friendly aid of the Indians all the way, and finally 
coming to the Spanish on the Pacific coast, near the mouth of the 
Gulf of California, at the end of March, 1536. The next year 
he returned to Spain, where his Relation was published in 1542. 
A map of his wanderings was made in Mexico for the viceroy, 
but it has not been preserved. No addition to the knowledge of 
the Mississippi was derived from this expedition. > 

DE SOTO, I54I-42. 

Grander, equally foolhardy, and scarcely less direful, was 
the expedition of Hernando (Ferdinand) de Soto, similarly 
planned for discoveries, conquest, and the establishment of a 
colonial government. He attained to a possession of the country 
granted to him, but only by burial in its great river. 




By a strange infatuation, Cabeza de Vaca, arriving in Spain 
and being questioned by his kinsfolk, gave to them the impression 
that Florida, then including a large region northwest of the pe- 
ninsula, was "the richest country in the world." This was near 
the truth, if understood with reference to capabilities for agricul- 
ture; but the Spaniards pictured such wealth of gold and silver 
as had been recently plundered from Peru and Mexico. A soldier 
of fortune. De Soto, who was of noble lineage, but poor, having 
become suddenly rich with Pizarro from the spoils of Peru, was 
eager for greater wealth and power. Returning to Spain, he 
secured appointment as governor of Cuba, with a commission to 
extend Spanish dominion over Florida and the country north of 
the Gulf of Mexico, where he was to be the feudal lord and gov- 
ernor. It was the same commission as that which had lured Xar- 
vaez to his death; but it was thought to be a sure passport to 
great wealth. Many young gentlemen of the noblest families in 
Spain, and some from Elvas in Portugal, flocked to De Soto's 
standard. One of the Portuguese, whose name is unknown, 
wrote the narrative, published in 1557, which is our chief source 
of information concerning the route and history of the expedi- 
tion.* There were more volunteers than could be accepted ; and, 
after an exultant voyage to Cuba and thence to Florida, De Soto 
landed, with about 600 men and 213 horses, at Tampa bay, May 
30 (old style), 1539. 

Almost two years were spent in marches through inhospit- 
able forests and swamps, fording rivers, and fighting with many 
tribes of Indians, but finding nothing worth plundering, with 
much suffering in the winter camps, until, in the spring of 1 541 , 
the weary and vvellnigh despairing expedition came to the Mis- 
sissippi river, probably at the Lower Chickasaw bluff (in Mem- 
phis, Tennessee, and extending ten miles down the east bank 
of the river), near the northwest corner of the present state of 
Mississippi, at the distance of about four hundred miles north of 
the gulf, but twice as far by the meandering watercourse. Armed 
Indians in two hundred canoes, coming from up the river, saluted 
the Spaniards, and the chief said to De Soto "that he had come 
to visit, serve, and obey him; for he had heard that he was the 

♦An EufrHih translation of this Rpintion of M \ Qentlemen of ElTae" nade bj 
Richard Uakluyt. wai published la 1611, and was reprinted for the llakluyt Socl ty lo 
1851. Another translation, by Runic (nit ham Smith, front which enaulnf Quotation* a«o 

tHkcn, was published iu Now Vorlc by ttic Bradford Club in 1V>6. 



greatest of lords, the most' powerful on all the earth." The In- 
dians were doubtless treacherous; but here, as usual, the Span- 
iards were the first aggressors. When the canoes drew off from 
the shore, "the crossbow-men, who were in readiness/' according 
to the Portuguese Relation, "with loud cries shot at the Indians, 
and struck down five or six of them." 

Delay for thirty days was required in making four large 
boats to transfer the cavalry and foot soldiers across the river. 
Beginning one morning three hours before daybreak, by many 
trips to and fro, they all had crossed before the sun was two hours 
High, effecting this important movement without molestation by 
their vigilant Indian enemies. Wherever they marched, the poor 
native people were robbed, some of them were treacherously 
killed, and others, taken captive, were compelled to carry burdens, 
or otherwise to aid the invaders. The Relation says of this 
river, which it calls the Rio Grande: "The distance [to cross it! 
was near half a league: a man standing on the shore could not 
be told, whether he were a man or something else, from the 
other side. The stream was swift, and very deep ; the water, 
always flowing turbidly, brought along from above many trees 
and much timber, driven onward by its force." 

Nearly another year was spent in marches, exploration, and 
campaigning against the Indians, west of the Mississippi river, 
and on April 17, 1542, De Soto came again to the Mississippi, 
at the Indian town of Guachoya, close below the mouth of the 
Arkansas river. There he sank into a deep despondency, worn 
out by the long series of disappointments and losses which had 
attended the whole course of his expedition ; he became sick with 
malarial fever; and on May 21 he died, after appointing Luis de 
Moscoso as his successor in command. To conceal his death 
from the Indians, the body, wrapped in blankets and heavily 
weighted with sand, was sunk in the middle part of the Missis- 
sippi. The new governor and leader, Moscoso. then told the 
chief of the Guachoya Indians that De Soto "had ascended into 
the skies, as he had done on other many occasions ; but as he 
would have to be detained there some time, he had left him in his 

Moscoso, after consulting the other officers, decided to 
march southwestward, hoping to reach Mexico; and half a year 


was lost in going far southwest, repenting, and returning to the 
Mississippi at an Indian settlement called Aminoya, where the 
Spaniards found a large quantity of maize, indispensable for 
their sustenance. This place was a short distance above Gua- 
choya, and apparently above the mouths of the Arkansas and 
White rivers, on the same west side of the great river. Seven 
brigantines were there built, on which, July 2, 1543, the Span- 
iards, reduced to the number of three hundred and twenty-two, 
launched to go down the Mississippi, taking with them about 
a hundred Indian slaves to be sold if they should reach Spanish 
settlements. Two weeks were occupied in descending the river, 
by rowing and the aid of the strong current, covering a distance 
which was estimated as about 250 Portuguese or Spanish leagues, 
that is, about 1,000 English statute miles. (From the mouth of 
the 'Arkansas to the Bayou Manchac, by the course of the Mis- 
sissippi, is a distance of 446 miles, and to the present mouths of 
the delta, 672 miles.) The debouchure, of the Mississippi was 
described as follows: 

When near the sea, it becomes divided into two arms, each of which 
may be a league and a half broad. . . . Half a league before coming to the 
sea, the Christians cast anchor, in order to take rest for a time, as they 
were weary from rowing. . . . [Here Indians came, in several canoes, for 
an attack.] . . . There also came some by land, through thicket and bog, 
with staves, having very sharp heads of fish-bone, who fought valiantly 
those of us who went out to meet them. . . . After remaining two days, 
the Christians went to where that branch of the river enters the sea ; and 
having sounded there, they found forty fathoms depth of water. Pausing 
then, the Governor required that each should give his opinion respecting 
the voyage, whether they should sail to New Spain direct, by the high 
sea, or go thither keeping along from shore to shore. ... It was decided 
to go along from one to another shore. . . . 

On the eighteenth day of July the vessels got under weigh, with fair 
weather, and wind favorable for the voyage. . . . With a favorable wind 
they sailed all that day in fresh water, the next night, and the day following 
until vespers, at which they were greatly amazed; for they were very 
distant from the shore, and so great was the strength of the current of 
the river, the coast so shallow and gentle, that the fresh water entered far 
into the sea. 

Luis Hernandez de Biedma, a factor or agent for the king, 
Charles V, was a member of De Soto's expedition, of which, 
after returning to Spain, he submitted a report in 154.4. FrOTU 



the translation of that report, given by Buckingham Smith in 
the same volume with this narrative of "the Gentleman of El- 
vas," we have the following considerably different description 
of what was thought to be the junction of the Mississippi with 
the gulf. 

We came out by the mouth of the river, and entering into a very 
large bay made by it, which was so extensive that we passed along it three 
days and three nights, with fair weather, in all the time not seeing land, 
so that it appeared to us we were at sea, although we found the water still 
so fresh that it could well be drunk, like that of the river. Some small 
islets were seen westward, to which we went : thenceforward we kept close 
along the coast, where we took shell-fish, and looked for other things to 
eat, until we entered the River of Panuco, where we came and were 
well received by the Christians. 

By comparing Biedma's report with the Portuguese Rela- 
tion, I am convinced that the brigantines did not pass down the 
Mississippi to its delta, but went out to the Gulf of Mexico by 
way of the Bayou Manchac, lakes Maurepas, Pontchartrain, 
and Borgne, and the Mississippi sound. In other words, Mos- 
coso, with his squadron, took the same passage that Pineda had 
taken, in 15 19, for his entering the Mississippi. Several points 
in the two narrations need now to be explained in detail, as to 
their harmony with this conclusion. 

First, the Indians. had villages near the Bayou Manchac; 
but probably there were no inhabitants near the true mouth of 
the river, at the end of the delta. Second, under this view, we 
must regard the Portuguese statement of a division of the river, 
into two arms or branches, as referring to the large outflow, at 
a time of flood, to the Atchafalaya river. Instead of receiving 
an inflow at the junction of the Red river, the flooded Mississippi 
there sent out a portion of its current, by the mouth of the Red 
river, to the Atchafalaya; which also, when the Red river is 
at a higher stage than the Mississippi, takes a part of the cur- 
rent of the former, carrying it south by a much shorter course 
to the gulf. Third, another statement of that Relation, noting 
the great depth of forty fathoms where their branch of the river 
"enters the sea," must be then interpreted as found in the bend 
of the Mississippi from which the Bayou Manchac flows away. 

In its condition of a high flood, the river there opens toward 



a vast expanse of water, called, by the narrator, "the sea," reach- 
ing east over lake Maurepas and onward to the gulf. It seems in- 
deed not unlikely that the Mississippi at that place may have 
then had even so great depth; for in a sharp curve at Xew 
Orleans it was once found by the Mississippi River Commis- 
sion to have a sounding of 208 feet. On the large scale maps re- 
cently published by this commission, the maximum depth of 
the river close to the departure of the Bayou Manchac- is noted 
as 145 feet; and in the sharp bend in the east part of New Or- 
leans, 188 feet. 

Sailing on the wide lakes Pontchartrain and Borgne, with 
the very low lands inclosing the iatter probably then submerged, 
Moscoso and his men would regard all that expanse of fresh 
water, reaching from the Bayou Manchac nearly a hundred miles 
east to the Mississippi sound, as "a very large bay" of the sea. 
They would consequently be surprised at the very long dis- 
tance to which the Mississippi sent its waters without their be- 
coming salt; whereas even the greatest floods could not freshen 
the sea very far out from the mouths of the delta. The Portu- 
guese Relation says that the Mississippi, before the departure 
from Aminoya, had risen, in such a high flood, to the ground at 
the town, where the brigantines were built, floating them ; and 
we may infer, with good assurance, that the same flood contin- 
ued, at nearly its full height, through the next two weeks, till 
July 16, when they came to the Bayou Manchac and the vast 
fresh water expanse stretching thence far to the east. 

Fifty-two days were spent in the slow coasting, with fre- 
quent landings, and long delays for storms and to provide shell- 
fish for food, between the Mississippi and the Panuco river, 
which was entered September 10, 1543; and there the Spanish 
town of Panuco welcomed the surviving three hundred and 
eleven of De Soto's men. 

Looking back over the history of this expedition and its re- 
sults, we see that little was gained for geographic knowledge, 
and nothing for the honor of the mother country or extension of 
her colonies. With the clearer light which now enables all civ- 
ilized nations to recognize the great truth of the brotherhood 
of all mankind, we are pained to read, throughout this narrative, 
the wanton cruelties, murderous warfare, stealing, and shame- 


less perfidy, with which the Indians were treated by De Soto 
and his men, from the beginning to the end of their expedition. 
These men were the finished product of medieval chivalry; they 
had mostly an inordinate self-esteem ; and they called them- 
selves Christians, and De Soto died with Christian serenity, in 
penitence and faith ; but in their conduct toward the savages 
every Christian or humane sentiment was sacrificed to the love 
of gold and self-advancement. The first white men to voyage 
far on the Mississippi, and to deal largely with its native peoples, 
deemed them outside the pale of human sympathy or mercy. 

No geographer, nor expert draftsman for mapping, appears 
to have been enlisted by De Soto in his grand company of fol- 
lowers. But soon after the expedition was disbanded in Mexico, 
testimony of those who came back to Europe was taken by some 
unknown compiler as the basis for a revised map of the "Gulf 
and Coast of New Spain/' This map, preserved at Madrid in 
the Archives of the Indies, was lately ascribed to the year 1521 
in the exhibition sent by Spain to the Columbian Exposition in 
Chicago in 1893. It is reproduced by Harrisse in his great work, 
The Discovery of North America, and is proved by him to belong 
to the end of 1543 or some later date. It shows the Atlantic and 
Gulf coast, from Georgia to the Panuco river, and extends in- 
land so far as the country was known, however vaguely, from 
the explorations of De Soto and Moscoso. The ultimate sources 
of the Mississippi river, called by Biedma and on this map the 
Espiritu Santo, are placed on the northwestern flank of the Ap- 
palachian mountain belt, due north of Tampa bay. Thence two 
streams, meant for the Tennessee and Cumberland (or perhaps 
Ohio) rivers, of which De Soto had accounts from the Indians, 
flow west and unite to form the Espiritu Santo, near whose west 
bank, close below the confluence of a large tributary from the 
northwest, is Guachoya, the deathplace of De Soto. Many other 
names are also noted, mostly of towns or districts of Indian tribes, 
derived from his expedition. No indication of the Ohio (prob- 
ably) nor the Missouri, nor of the Red river as a tributary of 
the Mississippi, is given by this map. Its northern boundary, 
beyond which it has only blank space, is at the supposed Cumber- 
land river, and at mountains adjoining the sources of the north- 
western tributary, that is, the Arkansas river. The Mlsisssippi 


empties into the Vaya (Bay) del Espiritu Santo, which is also 
called Alar Pequena (Little Sea), taking the place of the lakes 
north of New Orleans, and thus confirming my conclusions as to 
Moscoso's passage into the gulf. Excepting the long tributaries 
from the northeast, no greater prominence is given to the Mis- 
sissippi than to several others of the many rivers pouring into 
the Atlantic and the Gulf along all this coast. 

Here cartography rested during a hundred and thirty years. 
The next contribution from exploration of the Mississippi was 
by Marquette's map in 1673. 


Maps and globes made during the period between De Soto 
and Champlain portray the interior of North America, compris- 
ing the region of Minnesota, as drained entirely by the upper 
part of the St. Lawrence, which is shown as a very long river, 
with no suggestion of its great lakes. Jean Nicolet, in 1634-35, 
extended his explorations, as the forerunner of the fur trade and 
the Jesuit missions, to the falls of St. Mary, at the mouth of 
lake Superior, and to the Fox river, above Green bay. At the 
western limit of his travel in Wisconsin he learned of a great 
water, beyond the Fox river, which he supposed to be an ocean. 
It was the Mississippi (Great River). But this Algonquian 
name, from which came Nicolet's mistake, was first recorded by 
the Relations of the Jesuits for 1666-67 anc - 1670-71, many years 
after they had possessed some vague knowledge of the stream. 
The Relation of the latter date gives the following description 
of it, gathered from the Indians. 

It seems to form an inclosure, as it were, for all our lakes, rising 
in the regions of the North- and flowing toward the south, until it emp- 
ties into the sea — supposed by us to be either the vermilion or the Florida 
Sea [that is, the Gulf of California or the Gulf of Mexico], as there is 
no knowledge of any large rivers in that direction except those which emp- 
ty into the.-e two Sens. Some Savages have assured us that this is so 
noble a river that, at more than three hundred leagues' distance 
its mouth, it is larger than the one flowing before Quebec, for they declare 
that it is more than a league wide [referring probably to its enlargement in 
lake Pepin] . 

Previously, through more than a hundred years, the rude 
maps that resulted from Dc Soto's expedition had been accepted 



as evidence that the area draining to the Gulf of Mexico had no 
great northward extent. Groseilliers and Radisson, on their re- 
turn to Lower Canada in 1656, knew of the great river running 
southward beyond the lakes of the St. Lawrence; but they re- 
frained from communicating their knowledge to those more able 
to comprehend its grand significance, as the first discovery of a 
mighty river system flowing to the south in the interior of the 


Between the part of the Mississippi navigated by the Span- 
iards in 1543, southward from the Arkansas river, and the part 
first seen by our two Frenchmen in the spring of 1655, a section 
extending through nine degrees of latitude remained to be first 
surveyed by white men in the summer of 1673, when the canoes 
of Louis Joliet, a young, but skilled explorer, delegated by Fron- 
tenac to this enterprise, and the Christian hero, Father Jacques 
Marquette, passed down the great river from the Wisconsin to 
the Arkansas, and returned, partly by the same route, and along 
the Illinois river, to lake Michigan. The most southern Indian 
villages reached by Joliet and Marquette were Mitchigamea, on 
the west side of the Mississippi, not far above the White and 
Arkansas rivers, and Akansea, on the east side, nearly opposite 
to these large tributaries. As remarked by B. F. French, the 
former village was perhaps on the site of Aminoya, whence Mos- 
coso descended the Mississippi ; and the latter near Guachoya, 
where De Soto died, but on the opposite shore of the river. With 
Marquette's exceedingly interesting narrative of this voyage, we 
have his map, a pen sketch, giving the course of the Mississippi 
so far as it was seen by him, and marking its chief affluents, the 
Des Moines, Missouri, and Arkansas, on the west, and the Wis- 
consin, Illinois, and Ohio, on the east. 

The voyagers turned back at Akansea, through fear of 
Spaniards or the Indian tribes beyond. They had gone far 
enough to prove the Mississippi a tributary of the Gulf of Mex- 
ico; to discover its vast prairies as a most fertile country, abound- 
ing with buffalo herds; and to learn of many aboriginal tribes, 
among whom these pioneers went as friends, opening the way for 
founding trading posts and Christian missions. Through their 


narratives and maps, it soon became known to their country- 
men that the Mississippi basin was an unclaimed empire, well 
worthy of every effort to secure it for France. 


The whole country of the Mississippi, from the Gulf to the 
Thousand Lakes forming its sources, was christened Louisiana, 
for the French monarch, and claimed for his sovereignty, by 
Robert Cavelier, commonly known, under a title referring to his 
land estate, as the Sieur de la Salle, w r ho, on the great southern 
prairies, commanded a small company of zealous explorers ; and 
by Daniel Greyselon Du Luth, who ranged through the great 
northern woods, with a few Frenchmen and Indian helpers to 
perfonn the labor of canoeing and camping. 

.Under instructions from La Salle, at his Fort Crevecoeur 
on the Illinois river, a canoe exploration of the Mississippi up- 
ward from that river was undertaken in the early spring of 16S0 
by a little party of three Frenchmen, including the Franciscan 
priest, Father Louis Hennepin. On their way, probablv near the 
Iowa river, they were met and taken into captivity by a war 
party of a hundred and twenty Sioux, in thirty-three birch 
canoes. Returning to their homes, the Sioux took their prison- 
ers up the Mississippi to the site of St. Paul, and thence overland 
to the vicinity of Mille Lacs. After nearly two months of cap- 
tivity there, the Frenchmen, with a very large expedition of these 
Indians for hunting buffaloes, came by the usual canoe route 
down the Rum river and the Mississippi; and on one of the 
early days of July these Frenchmen gazed with admiration on 
the Falls of St. Anthony, which were so named by Hennepin for 
his patron saint. About three weeks were spent in the buffalo 
hunting, and on the return up the Mississippi, probably near the 
site of La Crosse, Hennepin and the Sioux were met by Du Luth, 
who, with an Indian interpreter and four French soldiers, in two 
canoes, had come from lake Superior by the Hois Brule and St. 
Croix rivers. * 

Du Luth had visited the Sioux in Hie Mille Lacs country 
during the preceding year, very probably coming by the wav of 
the St. Louis and Savannah rivers to Sandy lake and the M;s- 



sissippi, with descent of this river to the Crow Wing. He now 
boldly reprimanded the Indians for their treatment of Hennepin 
and his two French comrades, which produced a marked change 
in the demeanor of the savages. They all returned together to 
the Mille Lacs villages, where Du Luth, in an Indian council, 
further exerted his influence as a French fur trader to require 
due respect for any French visitors coming to the Sioux coun- 
try. In the autumn, Du Luth and Hennepin, with the other 
Frenchmen, left the Sioux, from whose chief they received a 
rudely traced map for four hundred leagues of their canoe route 
down the Mississippi, up the Wisconsin, and down the Fox river, 
to Green bay and Mackinac. 

By tEese travels the upper part of the Mississippi, then 
called the River Colbert, became known to the French of Can- 
ada. Three years later, Hennepin's publication, in Paris, of his 
"Description of Louisiana, Newly Discovered Southwest of New 
France," spread the knowledge of the discover}- of the upper 
Mississippi through all Europe. His map in that book delineates 
the course of this river from its source to the Illinois and a little 
farther south, noting the Rum river, the St. Croix, Chippewa, 
Black, Wisconsin, and Illinois rivers, as its eastern tributaries, 
but having no indication of the Ohio; and on the west its only 
tributary noted is the Minnesota. From the south limit of Hen- 
nepin's observation of the Mississippi a lightly dotted line, mark- 
ing its probable southward course, runs to the middle of the 
north side of the Gulf of Mexico. The Spanish maps of rivers 
seen by De Soto were not utilized to fill in the country at the 
south, across which the name of this new region, La Louisiane, 
is printed. 

The laconic announcement of Du Luth's death, given in 
a letter of May I, 1710, reads: "Captain Du Lud died this win- 
ter; he was a very honest man." Such commendation has been 
denied by many historians to Hennepin, because of falsehoods 
under his name in a later book published at Utrecht in 1697, 
which passed into many editions and translations. After read- 
ing his early work, and comparing it with this later work, which 
may have been edited by some one else without revision by Hen- 
nepin, I am inclined to agree with the conscientious historian. 
Dr. John G. Shea, and with Archbishop Ireland, in their argu- 


ments showing that Hennepin, though not free from the some- 
what excusable fault of vanity, was probably truthful in all his 
writings, not authorizing the false claim of a voyage down the 
Mississippi to its mouth, which the later publication asserted to 
have been made by him. It is to be much regretted, however, if 
Hennepin was innocent of complicity in these false statements, 
that we have no record of his denial and remonstrances against 
them. He died at some undetermined date, in 1701 of later. 

LA SALLE, l682. 

The proudest hour in the life of La Salle, among all his 
great efforts for the glory of France and extension of her do- 
minion, was when, on the ninth day of April, 1682, at the mouth 
of the Mississippi, or River Colbert, he erected a wooden column 
and a cross, affixing upon the column the arms of France, with 
an inscription, "Louis the Great, King of France and of Navarre, 
Reigns." The Te Deum and other hymns of thanksgiving and 
of loyalty were sung, and La Salle proclaimed, in a loud voice, 
that he took possession of the vast geographic basin drained by 
the Mississippi for the king of France, while his lieutenant, Ton- 
ty, Father Membre, and twenty other Frenchmen shouted, "Vive 
le Roi." La Salle called the new realm Louisiane. The greater 
part of it, lying west of the Mississippi, was purchased from 
Napoleon by the United States in 1803, under the name Louis- 
iana, including the western two-thirds of the area of Minnesota. 

La Salle did not know very definitely of the previous ex- 
plorations by Pineda, Narvaez, and De Soto and Moscoso; and 
he deliberately ignored them, so far as they might confer upon 
Spain any rights of territorial ownership. He thought that the 
great river discovered by De Soto might lie east of the one 
which he had followed to the sea. The claim for France in his 
edict at the mouth of the Mississippi extended east to "the great 
river St. Louis," as he renamed the upper Ohio and Allegheny 
rivers, supposed rightly to be continuous with the river of De 
Soto's grand discovery and death ; and it reached west on the 
gulf to the River of Palms, between the Rio Grande and the 
Panuco. It was limited on each side by the actual Spanish Set- 
tlements in Florida and in Mexico. Long afterward, the Louis* 



iana Purchase embraced the present state of Texas, and the 
subsequent acquisition of that area by the United States in 1845 
was a re-annexation. 

Leaving the Illinois river February 13th, La Salle and his 
company of about fifty French and Indians proceeded slowly 
down the Mississippi, hunting, and fishing almost every day to 
supply themselves food, and visiting with the numerous Indian 
tribes. April 6th they arrived at the head of the passes, or 
branches of the river, in the delta, where the mighty stream di- 
vided into three channels, each of which was examined and re- 
ported to be suitable for navigation, wide and deep. The length 
of the western channel was noted as about three leagues. Ac- 
counts of this expedition were written by La Salle, Tonty, and 
Membre, and in recent times much biographic information con- 
cerning La Salle has been published by Sparks, Parkman, and 
M'argry; but no map of the Mississippi drafted at that time has 
come down to us. In following all the winding course of the 
river, it would indeed have been a very difficult task to map it 
with general accuracy. It was thought to trend westward so 
that its mouths would not coincide with the River Espiritu Santo 
of the Spanish coastal charts, but rather with some other of the 
several rivers entering the gulf farther west. 

A detailed map of the river's mouths in 1682, then probably 
for the first time leisurely examined by white men, would be of 
great interest to geologists, for a study of the subsequent growth 
of the delta. We must be content, however, with the few mea- 
ger statements already given. Better information was gathered 
seventeen years later. Iberville and Bienville, brothers destined 
to become illustrious by founding the French colony of Louisiana, 
entered the eastern mouth of the delta with rowing boats, March 
2, 1699; and in September of the same year a small English fri- 
gate entered one of the mouths and ascended the river to the 
English Turn, a great bend ten miles below the site of New Or- 
leans. These are the earliest historic records of entries at the 
river's mouths. 

The chart of the delta drafted by these early English ad- 
venturers was used by Daniel Coxe in a map published in 1722, 
in his "Description of the English Province of Carolana, bj 
Spaniards called Florida, and by the French La Louisiana" 




This is the earliest map showing- the mouths of the Mississippi 
with considerable detail, the date of its information being 1699. 
It represents the eastern passes and the south pass as much short- 
er than the southwest pass, which last was described by La Salle 
as having a length of about three French leagues (8.28 statute 
miles). Coxe wrote: "The Three great Branches always Nav- 
igable by Shipping, are situated about 6 Miles distant from each 
other, and unite all at one Place with the main River, about 12 
Miles from their Mouths." 

Another detailed map of this delta, far more elaborate, by 
Bellin, the distinguished French engineer, was published in 1744, 
in Charlevoix's great work, "Histoire de la Nouvelle France." 
Between the dates represented by these maps, the south pass had 
been much extended, while the others showed little change. 

After these early dates, until 1885, when the admirable maps 
of the lower part of this river from surveys of the Mississippi 
River Commission were issued, each of the passes was extended 
six to eight miles into the gulf, and the eastern passes became 
more complex, with broad adjacent mud flats. Humphreys and 
Abbot, in 1861, determined the average yearly advance of all the 
passes to be 262 feet, which would amount to about five miles 
in a hundred years ; and they estimated that a period of about 
4,400 years has been occupied by the extension of the delta from 
the vicinity of Plaquemine and the Bayou Manchac outward into 
the gulf. When the delta was seen by Vespucci, four centuries 
ago, it probably terminated ten to fifteen miles back from the 
present head of the passes, where an old branching delta front 
is shown by the map of the Mississippi River Commission, in 
the continuation of the curving line of the Chandeleur islands 
and Breton island. 

le sueur, 1683-1700. 

It remains for us to consider only one other of the ancient 
French explorers of the Mississippi, who also was the first ex- 
plorer known to history on the Minnesota river. Pierre Charles 
Le Sueur, born in Canada in 1657, came to the Mississippi by the 
way of the Wisconsin river in 1683. The remaining years of the 
century, excepting expeditions for the sale of furs in Montreal 



and absence in voyages to France, he spent principally in the 
country of the Sioux. He was at Fort St. Antoine, on the east 
shore of lake Pepin, with Perrot, in 1689. At some time within 
a few years preceding or following that date, he made a canoe 
trip far up the Mississippi, this being the first recorded explora- 
tion of the river through the Central part of our state. Le Sueur 
related (Margry Papers, vol. vi, pp. 171, 172) that he ascended 
the river more than a hundred leagues above the Falls of St. 
Anthony, which statement, according to Brower, places the north- 
ern limit of his exploration in the vicinity of Sandy lake. 

Very probably Charleville, whose narration of a similar early 
expedition of a hundred leagues on this part of the Mississippi 
is preserved by Du Pratz, was a companion of Le Sueur, so that 
the two accounts refer to the same canoe trip. Charleville said 
that he was accompanied by two Canadian Frenchmen and two 
Indians ; and it is remarkable that Charleville, like Le Sueur, was 
a relative of the brothers Iberville and Bienville, who afterward 
were governors of Louisiana. At the limit of the canoe voyage 
up the Mississippi, in the case of both Le Sueur and Charleville, 
according to their separate narrations, the Indians informed them 
that its sources were still far distant, consisting of many streams. 

Thus the discovery of the Mississippi by white men. at suc- 
cessive times during two centuries, from its mouths to Sandy 
lake, was completed. More than a hundred years later, in 1S04 
to 1832, its upper waters and principal source were explored by 
Morrison, Pike, Cass, Beltrami, and Schoolcraft. It was from 
first to last a grand task, and it was chiefly accomplished by the 
French, opening to civilization the most fertile regions of our 
continent. Of these brave men and their achievement, John 
Fiske well wrote : "The exploration of the St. Lawrence and 
Mississippi valleys, with the determination of their relations to 
each other, was the most important inland work that was done in 
the course of American discovery." 

Le Sueur sailed from Montreal to France in 1696, taking 
samples of a blue or green earth which he had found on the Blue 
Earth river. It was assayed by L'Huillier, an officer of the king; 
and, with the belief that it was a valuable copper ore, Le Sueur 
was commissioned to open mines in the region which is now 
Minnesota. But disasters and obstacles deterred him from this 


^project until the year 1700, when, having come from a second 
visit in France, with thirty miners, to Biloxi, near the mouth of the 
Mississippi, he ascended this river with his mining party in a 
sailing and rowing vessel and two canoes, going onward up the 
Minnesota river to the Blue Earth. This^ was the earliest con- 
tinuous expedition along nearly the whole navigable length of 
the Mississippi ; and very interesting accounts of it, and of the 
mining and dealings with the Sioux, were written by Penicaut, a 
carpenter in the party, and by La Harpe, the latter receiving the 
narrative directly from Le Sueur's journal. It was a splendid, 
but fruitless enterprise, for the remarkable colored earth, of which 
a great amount was mined, and the best of it carried to France, 
was worthless as a source of copper or any metallic product. 

The route of Le Sueur's upward voyage, and of his return 
to Biloxi in 1701, was doubtless through lakes Borgne, Pontchar- 
train, and Maurepas, the Amite river, and the Bayou Manchac, 
which flows out from the Mississippi six miles above (east of) 
Plaquemine. Pineda and Moscoso had taken the same route, 
as before shown, so that the resulting maps, accepted as true 
during more than a hundred and fifty years, represent this as 
the chief debouchure of the Mississippi. Their error was learned 
in 1682, when La Salle went to the river's mouths in the delta. 
The Bayou Manchac was also called, by the early French in Lou- 
isiana, the Akankia (or Ascantia) and the River d'Iberville. 
This convenient route of navigation to and from the Mississipi 
was much used until New Orleans was founded, in 1 718. It was 
a part of the eastern boundary of the Louisiana Purchase, in 1803, 
which thus included, east of the Mississippi, "the island of New 
Orleans,*' a hundred and fifty miles long, with a maximum width, 
south from Misissippi sound, of fifty miles. 

The question of Dr. Walter B. Scaife, whether the Rio del 
Espiritu Santo of the Spanish geographers was the Mississippi,* 
receives a definite and affirmative answer from this review of the 
general early use of the route by the Bayou Manchac, which 
caused the debouchure of the Mississippi to be quite erroneously 

♦Johns Flopkins University Studies in Historical tad Political Science. F\tr* 
Volume XIII, 1*92, entitled "America. Its Geographic*! H w<>r> . 1492 1892, Supplement, 
pp. 189*178. Other authors who have followed Dr. Scaife in doubting the Identifica- 
tion of the Rio del Ksplrltu Santo m the Mission! ppl, oonsiderine it msiex-i t.. do proba- 
bly the Mobile river and hav, are Peter J. Hamilton, "Colonial Mobile.' l s y T . pp. I 13; 
Frederic A. Ogg, "The Opening of the Mississippi," 1904. pp. B*tl; and Prof Al. ee 
Fortler, "A History of Louisiana, 1 1904, \ol. i, p 4. The two lH»t named LHon* to the 
Interval between the writing of this paper and its printing (in Octoher, 1904) . 



mapped until the time of La Salle's expedition to its true mouths. 
A year after Scaife, but independently, the same question was also 
raised by Brower and Hill in their very valuable work on the 
history of the Mississippi river, presented in Volume VII of this 
Society's Historical Collections; but the present study leaves to 
me no cloubt that the lower Mississippi was seen successively by 
Vespucci, Pineda, Narvaez, and De Soto. It was reserved for 
French explorers, Groseilliers and Radisson, in 1655, and Joliet 
and Marquette, in 1673, to be the first Europeans on the upper 
Mississippi, more than a century after the disastrous early Span- 
ish expeditions. 

History of Prairie Island. 

The first locality in Minnesota inhabited by white men, 
Prairie island, also called by former writers Bald island, in trans- 
lation of its old French name, Isle Pelee, deserves further notice, 
for it was the site of an important early trading post. Forty years 
after Groseilliers and Radisson came there, Le Sueur established 
a fort, that is, a trading post, on this island, in 1695, of which 
Benard de la Harpe, in the introduction of his narrative of Le 
Sueur's mining expedition in 1700, wrote as follows, according 
to Shea's translation (Early Voyages up and down the Missis- 
sippi, 1861, p. 90) : 

. . . . What gave rise to this enterprise as far back as the year 
1695, was this. Mr. Le Sueur by order of the Count de Frontenac, Gov- 
ernor General of Canada, built a fort on an island in the Mississippi, more 
than 200 leagues above the Illinois, in order to effect a peace between the 
Sauteurs nations [Ojibways], who dwelt on the shores of a lake of five 
hundred leagues circumference, one hundred leagues east of the river, and 
the Scioux, posted on the Upper Mississippi. The same year, according to 
his orders, he went down to Montreal in Canada with a Sauteur chief 
named Chingouabe and a Sciou named Cioscate [Tioscate, p. 107], who 
was the first of his nation who had seen Canada. . . 

Penicaut, in his relation of Le Sueur's expedition, which 
he accompanied, wrote of Prairie island, as translated by Alfred 
J. Hill in Volume III of this Society's Historical Collections: 

At the end of the lake [Pepin] you come to Bald Island, so called be- 
cause there are no trees on it. It is on this island that the French iti D 
Canada established their fort and storehoi^c when they come to trade i r 
furs and other merchandise, and they also winter here bectttse gtflM is very 


abundant in the prairies on both shores of the river. In the month of Sep- 
tember they bring their store of meat there, procured by hunting, and after 
having skinned and cleaned it, place it upon a sort of raised scaffold near 
the cabin, in order that the extreme cold which lasts from the month of 
September to the end of March, may hinder it from corrupting during the 
winter, which is very severe in that country. During the whole winter 
they do not go out except for water, when they have to break the ice every 
day, and the cabin is generally built on the bank, so as not to have to go 
far. When spring arrives the savages come to the island, bringing their 
merchandise, which consists of all kinds of furs, as beaver, otter, marten, 
lynx, and many others — the bear skins are generally used to cover the 
canoes of the savages and Canadians. There are often savages who pillage 
the French Canadian traders, among others the savages of a village com- 
posed of the five different nations, and which have each their own name, 
that is, the Sioux, the people of the big village, the Mententons, the 
Mencouacantons, the Ouyatespony, and other Sioux of the plains. Three 
leagues higher up, after leaving this island, you meet on the right the river 
St. Croix 

*In a careful examination of this large island, during the 
spring of this year 1902, Hon. J. V. B rower, while mapping about 
two hundred and fifty aboriginal mounds there, found only very 
scanty indications, in a single place, about a half mile south from 
Sturgeon lake, on the high bank west of its outlet, of any ancient 
dwelling or inclosure, constructed by Europeans, such as Le 
Sueur's fort. It probably was merely a rude log cabin, inclosed by 
a palisade, both soon decaying and leaving scarcely any traces 
recognizable after two centuries. Yet its thus leaving almost no 
sign seems not inconsistent with the statements of Penicaut, which 
imply that during several years, before and after Le Sueur's com- 
mission in 1695, Prairie island was an important station of 
French traders. 

From Charlevoix, in the third volume of his History of Xew 
France, published in 1744, I translate the following brief descrip- 
tion of this island : 

On going above the lake [Pepin], one comes to Isle Pelce. so named 
because it has not a single tree, but is a very beautiful prairie. The French 
of Canada have often made it the center of their trade in these western 
districts, and many have also wintered there, because all thtfl country it 
excellent for hunting. 

Apparently this note was simply condensed from Penicaut, 
and I cannot refer to any evidence of the occupation ot the island 



by white traders after the year 1700. It has perhaps been contin- 
uously occupied by the Sioux since that date ; for numerous fam- 
ilies of these people still live there, on land which they cultivate, 
allotted to them by the United States government, about a mile 
west of the supposed site of Le Sueur's post. All the other very 
extensive cultivatable land of the island is owned by white im- 

Services of Groseilliers and Radisson for the Hudson 
Bay Company. 

In the short biographic sketches of these brothers-in-law, 
given at the beginning of this paper, their services for England, 
again for France, and later in a second desertion from their own 
country to England, were noticed, all belonging to the period 
after their western expeditions to Minnesota. Not comprehend- 
ing their discovery of the Mississippi river, and esteeming the 
peltries of the north to be far more promising for acquisition of 
wealth than any traffic, colonization, and development of the fer- 
tile western and southern country beyond the great lakes, Gros- 
eilliers and Radisson in their long persevering ambition looked 
earnestly to the vast inland sea or bay of Hudson, to be acquired 
for its fur trade, as they at first hoped, by France; but as they 
later plotted, when smarting under the injustice of the govern- 
or of Canada and the court of France, it was the motive of Rad- 
isson's writings to attain lucrative and commanding positions in 
the service of English patrons, establishing them in the com- 
merce of that northern region. It was largely through the ef- 
forts of these two French adventurers, alternating in their alle- 
giance between the great rival powers of France and England, 
that the Hudson Bay Company was founded, in 1670, and grew 
in the next two decades to be an important ally of the English 
colonies and power on this continent. 

Reviewing the conduct of these men in their relations to 
the two governments under which they were thus successively 
employed, we see good ground for excusing their first d 
tion from France; but their wavering allegiance, three times 
changed, betokens a selfish and petulant spirit, rather than I 
noble loyalty to either their native or their adopted country. The 


high-handed seizure by Radisson, in 1684, of the French post 
on Hayes river commanded by his nephew, though enriching the 
English, was the work of a despised traitor, and failed to win 
either a large pecuniary reward or the respect of the Hudson Bay 
Company. It brought the distinction of being considered by the 
king of France as a dangerous enemy. 

Groseilliers is supposed to have died at his Canadian home, 
refusing the overtures for going back to a second residence and 
service with the English. Radisson, having married an English- 
woman, spent many years there in obscurity > until his death, as 
a pensioner of this great commercial company. They each pos- 
sessed in a very full degree the qualities of sympathetic com- 
radeship, coolness and courage in dangers, cheerful endurance of 
hardships, and fondness for adventure and life in the wilderness, 
which insured success for the French and Scotch voyageurs, 
where the different temperaments of English or German colon- 
ists would have made any attempt by them to act the same part 
as pioneer explorers and traders a dismal failure. They contrib- 
uted to the founding of New France, which reached from the 
Gulf of St. Lawrence to the Great Lakes, and down the Missis- 
sippi to its mouth; but in all that domain which they and their 
compatriots discovered and won for the mother country, she 
now retains no possession. 

To Whom belongs the Honor of Discovery oe the Upper 
Mississippi River and Minnesota? 

Not much of thanks or praise can be awarded to Groseilliers 
and Radisson for their being the earliest Europeans on the upper 
Mississippi river, and in the area of Minnesota; for they failed 
to discern the important geographic significance of the great river, 
and designedly concealed from their countrymen, so far as pos- 
sible, all knowledge of their travels. If we may compare this 
inland region with the much grander discovery of the continent, 
the expeditions of these first pioneers seem somewhat Like the 
unfruitful voyages of the old Northmen, reaching our northern 
shores but not understanding the value of their work, lone: be- 
fore the purposeful first voyage of Columbus, which, though 
indeed with the belief that the islands found were merely out- 
liers of Farther India, gave to civilization a new hemisphere. 



With similar intelligence and patriotism came Joliet and Mar- 
quette, to whom, second on the upper Mississippi, in 1673, be- 
longs rightly, as I believe, the highest honor of its discovery, be- 
cause they made known what they found. Let the glory of praise 
and gratitude, which during more than two hundred years has 
been accorded to them, continue with undiminished luster in the 
minds of future generations. Likewise let the names of Du Luth 
and of Hennepin and his companions be held in lasting honor 
for their being the first of white men to make known their ex- 
plorations in Minnesota. 

But we should also commemorate the work, • so long con- 
cealed from historians, by which Groseilliers and Radisson earlier 
reached this mighty river and first saw the fair country that 
nearly two centuries later became our territory and state. The 
first of white men within the area of this commonwealth, their 
landing at Prairie island in the spring of 1655, with a large 
company of Indians, who were met by others of their exiled 
tribesmen already establishing their homes on the island, is a 
subject well worthy of the painter's skill, and well deserving of 
a place among the mural decorations of our new state capitol. 
Beside it, also, we should have the picture of the Treaty of Tra- 
verse des Sioux, by which treaty, under Governor Ramsey and 
Luke Lea, our Tenitory acquired from the red men so great a 
part of its area for the white men's farms, towns, and cities, and 
for all that belongs to the progressing civilization of our Anglo- 
Saxon people, 

"The heir of all the ages, in the foremost files of time." 
Chronologic Summary. 

The following summary of the dates and events noted in the 
foregoing pages will be convenient for reference, and as a kind 
of index to the career of Groseilliers and Radisson in their re- 
lation to Minnesota and the Northwest. 


Medard Chouart, Sieur des Groseilliers, born in France. 


Pierre Esprit Radisson born in France. 


Groseilfiers came to Canada (or perhaps a few yean earlier), 



Groseilliers was a layman helper of Jesuit missionaries, and learned the 
Huron and Algonquian languages. 


He married Helene Martin, who died in 1651. 


He was a fur trader, probably making yearly trips to the country of 
the Hurons. > 


Radisson, probably as a sailor boy, visited London, Italy, and Turkey. 


May 24, Radisson arrived in Canada. 

" 1652. 

He was captured by the Iroquois, and lived nearly a year with them on 
the Mohawk river. 


He escaped to Fort Orange (Albany), sailed to Holland and France, 
and in the spring of 1654 returned to Three Rivers, Canada. Groseilliers 
married Marguerite Radisson, a sister of Pierre. 


August 6, Groseilliers and Radisson started on their first western ex- 
pedition (the third voyage in the series of Radisson's narration), with a 
party of Hurons and Ottawas. They spent the winter among the Indian 
tribes in the region of Mackinac and Green bay. 


In the early spring, Groseilliers and Radisson, and about 150 Indians, 
traveling with snowshoes, crossed southern Wisconsin to the Mississippi 
river near the site of Prairie du Chien ; spent three weeks in building boats ; 
and ascended the Mississippi to Prairie island, arriving there about the first 
of May. Groseilliers staid on the island through the summer and autumn, 
superintending the Indians in raising and storing corn ; but Radisson went 
with a hunting party of the Indians, journeying southeastward to the Illi- 
nois river, and spent four months in going "from river to river." 


About the middle of June, a council of more than 800 Indians was held 
on Prairie, island. With difficulty Groseilliers and Radisson persuaded 
them to undertake a large expedition to Montreal and Quebec, braving the 
expected attacks of the Iroquois. They left Prairie island late in June, or 
about the first of July, and reached Lower Canada late in August, bringing 
furs of great value. 


From the summer of 1657 to the spring of 1658, Radisson was in an ex- 
pedition to the Onondagas in central New York (placed as the second 
voyage in his narration). 


In August, with a company of Ojibways and other Indians, Groseilliers 
and Radisson started on their second western expedition; spent twenty* two 

days in canoe travel, by the Ottawa and Mattawa rivers and lake Nipissing, 



to Georgian bay; stopped a few days for rest at the Sault Ste. Marie; and 
coasted along the south shore of lake Superior to Chequamegon bay, ar- 
riving there probably near the end of September. They waited twelve days, 
and then marched four days southward through the woods to a lake about 
eight leagues in circuit, probably Lac Courte Oreille, where a council of 
the Hurons, Menominees, and other Indians, was held, with bestowal of 
gifts. After the first snowfall, late in October or early in November, the 
Indians separated to provide food by hunting. 


Early in January, the Hurons, and Groseilliers and Radisson, came 
together at an appointed rendezvous, a small lake, probably Knife lake or 
some other in its vicinity, in Kanabec county, Minnesota. A terrible fa- 
mine ensued, and was made more severe by the arrival of a large company 
of Ottawas. More than 500 Indians perished, and the two Frenchmen 
barely survived. 

After the famine, twenty-four Sioux came to bring presents for Gros- 
eilliers and Radisson, and eight days were occupied with feasting. The 
Hurons, and delegations from eighteen tribes or bands of the Sioux, then 
met at a prairie or clearing chosen near the former rendezvous, apparently 
in the neighborhood of Knife lake. Ceremonial feasting, athletic trials of 
strength and skill, singing, dancing, and bestowal of gifts, occupied the 
next three weeks ; and a large party of Crees, being specially invited, joined 
in the later part of this great celebration of alliance with the French. This 
took place in the second half of March and beginning of April. 

During April and May, Groseilliers and Radisson visited the Prairie 
Sioux, probably on the Minnesota river, traveling thither probably afoot by 
way of the Rum river and down the Mississippi, but passing south to the 
Minnesota by way of the series of lakes in the west part of Minneapolis, 
and returning, with a company of Ojibway traders in canoes, by the Min- 
nesota, Mississippi, and St. Croix rivers. They reached Chequamegon bay 
in the later part of May. 

Soon after the first of June, they crossed the west end of lake Super- 
ior, apparently about 20 or 25 miles east of Duluth, visiting the Crees near 
the site of Two Harbors. 

With a great escort. 300 or more of the Indians in sixty canoes. Gros- 
eilliers and Radisson arrived at Montreal on the 19th of August, having 
spent twenty-six days in coming down from lake Superior. They brought, 
as in 1656, a very valuable freight of furs. The governor of Canada, Ar- 
genson, reprimanded them for going on this expedition without his author- 
ity, and imposed very heavy fines, so that Groseilliers went to France to 
plead for redress, but in vain. 


Groseilliers and Radisson sailed in a New England ship to Hudson 
strait, hoping to enter Hudson bay and establish trading posts : hut the cap- 
tain refused to go farther, on account of the approach of winter. 


Groseilliers and Radisson went to England, and aided in forming the 
Hudson Bay Company, which was chartered in 1070. About that tunc. 


Radisson married a daughter of John Kirke, who became a director of this 


They returned to the service of France, in which they remained for 
the next ten years. 


May 12, Radisson again entered the service of the Hudson Bay Com- 
pany; but their offer was declined by Groseilliers, who probably died soon 
afterward in Canada. Radisson immediately voyaged to Hudson bay, and 
took possession of the chief French trading post, with a vast stock of furs, 
worth 7,000 pounds. During a few years afterward, till 1688, he continued 
in active service, voyaging to Hudson bay. 


After receiving a small pension from the Hudson Bay Company during 
more than twenty years, Radisson probably died early in the year 1710, in 
England, as at that time the pension ceased. 


The following alphabetic list comprises 107 books and pa- 
pers, which treat more or less fully of Groseilliers and Radisson, 
by 63 authors. For each author who expresses opinions con- 
cerning the routes and dates of their western expeditions, a brief 
statement of these opinions is presented. Twenty-one of the 
authors thus cited have made special studies of the narratives of 
Radisson, as published in the year 1885. The others wrote 
earlier, or, if later, appear not to have perused his writings. A 
few citations have been added since this paper was first written, 
to complete the list, so far as known to me, to the date of its 
printing, in October, 1904. 

American Historical Review, Jan,, 1896; see Campbell. 

Archives; see Canadian, France, New France, New York, andQuebec. 

Baker, Gen. James H. History of Transportation in Minnesota. 
(Minn. Historical Society Collections, vol. ix, 1901, pp. 1-34.) Groseilliers 
and Radisson are credited, in pages 3-4, with discovery of the upper Mis- 
sissippi river in 1659, during their second expedition. They are thought to 
have crossed it "at an unknown and unasccrtainable point, probably be- 
tween the mouth of Sauk river and the mouth of Rum river." 

Becg, ALEXANDER. History of the North-West. (3 vols., Toronto, 
1894-95.) Vol. i, pp. 71-74; vol. iii. p. 479. Groseiilicrs and RftdissOfl .">re 
said to have passed from Lake Superior to the Lake of the Woods, lake 
Winnipeg, and Hudson bay, in 1002. See Jereniie, Oldmixon, and E!us. 

Bell, ANDREW, t ran or; see (iaincau. 



Blakeley, Capt. Russell. History of the Discovery of the Mississip- 
pi River and the Advent of Commerce in Minnesota. (Minnesota Histor- 
ical Society Collections, vol. viii, pp. 303-418; read Oct. 12, 1896; published 
May, 1898.) 

The first half of this paper, in pages 303-362, reviews the two western 
expeditions of these Frenchmen, referring them to the years 1654-56 and 
1658-60. They are credited with an exploration of the upper Mississippi 
during the first of the expeditions, and with an overland journey to Hudson 
bay during the second expedition. Captain Blakeley was the earliest writer 
to give careful attention to the location of "the first landing isle," which he 
thought to be in lake Saganaga. Extensive quotations from Radisson's 
narratives are presented, and these are compared with other writers, Span- 
ish, French, and English, on early explorations of the upper Mississippi and 
of the country farther southwest, on the O jib ways and Crees, the fur 
trade, and Hudson bay. 

Blanchet, Hox. J. ; see New France, Collection de Documents. 

Bradley, A. G. Chronicles of the Hudson's Bay Company. (Macmil- 
lan's Magazine, vol. lxxxiii, pp. 231-240, Jan., 1901.) Groseilliers and Rad- 
isson are noticed in pages 232-5, as "born intriguers, restless, intrepid, . . 
. . .the practical founders of the Company." This article is based on the 
histories of Willson and Bryce. It makes no allusion to Radisson's pre- 
tence of an overland journey from lake Superior to Hudson bay. 

Brodhead, John Romeyn; see Nezv York, Documents. 

Brower. Jacob V. The Mississippi River and its Source: Minnesota 
Historical Society Collections, vol. vii, 1893. (Pages 360; with many maps, 
portraits, and other illustrations.) 

In the parts of this work relating the early Spanish and French exolor- 
ations, Mr. Brower had the assistance (as noted on page 290) of the late 
Alfred J. Hill, of St. Paul, Minn. Their discussion of the western expe- 
ditions of Groseilliers and Radisson is in pages 47-58. It is thought, from 
evidences outside of Radisson's narratives, as the Jesuit Relations, that these 
two expeditions were in the years 1654-56 and 1658-60. During Radisson's 
long hunting excursion in the summer of 1655, he is supposed to have 
reached the Mississippi river, which is identified as "the great river that di- 
vides itself in 2." No attention is given to the important question of the 
situation of "the first landing isle." 

The rendezvous on the land of the Sioux, in the second expedition, 
where starvation in midwinter was followed by the grand Indian council 
and feast, is conjecturally placed "between Kettle and Snake rivers in east- 
ern Minnesota." The Tatarga or Tatanga of Radisson arc considered to 
be the Titonwan or Prairie Sioux, in southern and western Minnesota, « 1 
were visited by these two Frenchmen after the feast. Their journey thither 
would cross the upper Mississippi, though it received no mention. Sec 

Brower, Jacor V. Prehistoric Man at the Headwaters of the Missis- 
sippi River. (Journal of the Manchester Geographical Society, vol. xi, pp. 



1-80 ; with many portraits, maps, and illustrations from photographs. Man- 
chester, England; 1895.) 

The following quotation is from page 21 : "M. Groseilliers and M. Rad- 
isson, two Frenchmen of energetic habits but apparently illiterate minds, 
about two hundred and thirty-four years ago, passing west from Lake Su- 
perior, came in contact with the Sioux or Dakotas. . . . it is quite certain 
that these two first Europeans reached and crossed the Mississippi some 
thirty or forty miles above the present site of the city of St. Paul. . . . 
There is little doubt but that the two Frenchmen named . . .-were the 
first Europeans who came in contact with the Sioux tribes." 

[This paper, in an abridged form, was also published in the Minne- 
sota Historical Society Collections, vol. viii, part 2, pp. 232-269, issued Dec, 
1896, the quotation here given being on page 242.] 

Brower, Jacob V. Memoirs of Explorations in the Basin of the Mis- 
sissippi. Volume iii. Mille Lac. (Pages 140; 1900.") Vol. iv, Kathio. 
(Pages 136; 1901.) Vol. v, Kakabikansing. (Pages 126; 1902.) Vol. vi, 
Minnesota, Discovery of its Area. (Pages 127, 1903.) 

Each of these quarto volumes, presenting investigations in archaeology 
and history, published by the author in St. Paul, Minn., is superbly illustrat- 
ed by many maps, portraits, and views. They all have numerous references 
to Groseilliers and Radisson. 

Volume iv has, on page 83, a portrait of Radisson, "from The Great 
Company, by Beckles Willson, Toronto, 1899 . . . unauthenticated.*' 
See Willson. 

Volume vi, published March 20, 1903, treats of Prairie and Gray Cloud 
islands and their vicinity, and especially of the time and place of the earliest 
coming of these white men to the area of Minnesota, with elaborate dis- 
cussion of their first expedition. Contributions from Henry Colin Campbeil, 
Benjamin Suite, and Warren Upham, are presented ; and afterward Mr. 
Brower, reviewing Radisson's narratives and these contributed papers, re- 
jects the conclusion of Upham, that "the first landing isle"' is Prairie island, 
formerly called Isle Pelee. This volume has been an incentive to present 
in the foregoing paper as full and clear evidences as possible for my view 
thus disputed, which, however, after weighing the opposing opinions, I 
still hold with unshaken confidence. See Campbell, Suite, and Upham. 

Bryce, Prof. George. The Further History of Pierre Esprit Radisson. 
(Proceedings and Transactions of the Royal Society of Canada, second 
series, vol. iv. Meeting of May, 1898, section ii, pp. 53-66; iS» 8 J 

Radisson's claim that he visited Hudson bay by an overland route from 
lake Superior is fully discussed and rejected. From the archives of the 
Hudson Bay Company, examined by Dr. Bryce in London in [806, he traces 
Radisson as living in England, a pensioner of that company, till 1710. about 
twenty-five years beyond what had been previously known. The western 
expeditions are referred to the years 1658-60 and [661-63, 

Bryce, Prof. George. The Remarkable History of the Hudson's Bay 
Company. (Toronto, 1900.) Pages 3-1 1, and chapter Y. ' Two Adroit \A 



venturers," pp. 33-46; adapted from the paper of the Royal Society of Cana- 
da, already cited, a most valuable contribution to the history of these pro- 
moters of the founding and early enterprises of this Company. 

Brymner, Douglas, Archivist; See Canadian Archives. 

Concerning the assumed title of Groseilliers, Dr. Brymner wrote on 
page xxii of his Report for 1895 : ."The name of des Groseillers, taken from 
a small property, was Medard Chouart, but he is as little known by that 
name as Voltaire was known by his real name of Arouet, he being always 
spoken of by the name of des Groseillers, changed in one affidavit into 
'Gooseberry/ the name literally translated into English being 'gooseberry 
bushes.' " 

Campbell, Henry Colin. Radisson's Journal: its Value in History. 
(Pages 88-116, in Proceedings of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin 
at its Forty-third Annual Meeting, held December 12, 1895. Madison, 1896.) 

Campbell, Henry Colin. Radisson and Groseilliers: Problems in 
Early Western History. (The American Historical Review, vol. i, pp. 226- 
237, Jan., 1896.) 

Campbell, Henry Colin. Exploration of Lake Superior : the Voyages 
of Radisson and Groseilliers. (Parkman Club Publications, No. 2, pp. 17- 
35, Milwaukee, Wis., Jan. 14, 1896.) 

These three very interesting and exceedingly important papers, pre- 
pared and isued almost at the same time, cover in a great degree the same 
ground of discussion concerning the reliability of Radisson's narratives pub- 
lished by the Prince Society. The earlier discussions and studies of the 
chronology and routes of his voyages or expeditions by former writers, 
during the eleven years which had then elapsed after that publication, are 
reviewed ; and a useful though concise bibliography of the sources of the 
history of Groseilliers and Radisson is presented in the last two pages of the 
Parkman Club paper. The sagacious conclusions of Campbell have bem 
always helpful, and have generally been adopted, in the present monograph, 
which, however, is more positive and definite in discarding Radisson's claims 
to have traveled to the Gulf of Mexico and Hudson bay. 

In relation to our Minnesota part of the western expeditions, a great 
indebtedness to Campbell must be acknowledged, in that he was the first, 
among the many authors considering the routes of these French explorers, 
to suggest that Isle Pelee, for a few years inhabited by the Huron refugees, 
was "the first landing isle," so necessary to be identified for an understand- 
ing of the geography of that expedition. No other author has been so 
helpful and stimulating to me ; and I think that no other has contributed so 
much to establish ? true interpretation of Radisson. 

Campbell's discussion of the situation of "the first landing isle," in 
pages 25-26 of the third of these papers, is as follows: "Late in the winter, 
Radisson says, he and Groseilliers and 150 Indians traveled fifty leagues 00 
snow shoes, came to the mouth of a river where they stopped to make 
boats, ascended the river for eight days, visted the Pontonemick, probably 



Pottawattamies, and the Matenock, and continued their journey until they 
reached what Radisson calls 'the first landing isle.' Docs Radisson mean 
to state that they crossed the upper peninsula of Michigan, ascended the 
Fox river and made their way to Bald Island [Isle Pelee or Prairie Island], 
in the Mississippi river? That long journey, which included fifty leagues 
on snow shoes, was remarkable, and Radisson's description of it plainly 
shows that the objective point could not be any of the islands in Lake 
Michigan or in Lake Huron. At the 'first landing isle,' Radisson and Gros- 
eilliers found many Hurons, in fact, the object of the journey, seems to 
have been to find the Hurons, with whom Groseilliers had traded before 
the Iroquois had forced them to abandon their homes east of Georgian 
Bay. Radisson has recorded that during his southern trip of the summer 
before, he had tried to get his Huron companions to go with him to their 
countrymen who had fled to the land of the Sioux, meaning the upper 
Mississippi River. But it is very doubtful whether the Hurons had reached 
the Lake Pepin country at the time that Radisson says that he tried to 
persuade his Huron companions to go there, and it is far from being certain 
that the Hurons had reached Lake Pepin even by the time that Radisson 
says that he and Groseilliers found them on an island — 'the first landing 
isle.' * 

It may be remarked, as to this discussion, that Radisson's narrative 
does not necessarily place the beginning of the long journey with snow 
shoes farther north than the neighborhood of Green bay, or even of lake 
Winnebago; that this journey ended at the side (not the mouth) of a 
river, where they made boats ; that the two bands of Indians whom they 
found after canoeing eight days up the river are not named exactly as 
by Radisson, though very probably the first, as Campbell thinks, were 
Pottawattamies, while the second may have been Menominees ; and that 
Perrot's Memoir, carefully considered in the foregoing pages, gives good 
warrant for the coming of the Huron and Ottawa refugees to Prairie 
island as early as 1654 or 1653, and for their stay on that island during 
probably four or five years. We can therefore very confidently accept 
Campbell's suggestion that "the first landing isle" was Perrot's Isle Pelee, 
being the first place of abode of white men in Minnesota. See Perrot. 

CAMPBELL, Hexry Colin. PSre Rene Menard, the Predecessor of 
Allouez and Marquette in the Lake Superior Region. (Parkman Club 
Publications, No. II, vol. ii, pp. 1-24. Milwaukee, Wis., Feb. 10. 1807.) 
Pages 13-15 refer to the second western expedition of Groseilliers and 
Radisson; their going southward from Chequamegon bay to the refugee 
Hurons at a lake "some eight leagues in circuit;" and the testimony of 
Rev. Chrysostom Verwyst, who identifies this lake as probably Lac Courte 
Oreille, that the Indians had an old trail between it and Chequamegon, 

which trail, as Campbell shows, was undoubtedly the route traveled by these 

French traders and their Indian companions. Sec I 'crziyst and McCsr- 

Campbell, Henry Colin, A short statement of doubt concerning the 

acceptability of Radisson's narrative of the first western expedition, ami 




especially of doubt that he then reached the Mississippi river, is contributed 
by Campbell to Brewer's Volume vi of ''Memoirs of Explorations in the 
Basin of the Mississippi," 1903, pp. 69-71. See Brower. 

Canada, Royal Society of; see Bryce and Dionne. 

Canadian Archives, Reports on, by Douglas Brymner, Archivist. 
(Ottawa, 1881-1901.) 

Report for 1883, Note C, pages 173-201, "Transactions betweene Eng- 
land and France relateing to Hudsons Bay, 1687." Groseilliers and Rad- 
isson are noticed on pages 180, 181, 188, and 192, as guides of the first 
English voyages for fur trading on this bay. 

Report for 1895, Note A, pages 1-83, "Relations of the Voyages of 
Pierre Esprit Radisson in 1682, .3 and 4." Two journals of Radisson, in 
his original French, are here published, with their English translations 
made by Dr. Brymner. These journals, as he states in page xxii of this 
report, were obtained in the Hudson's Bay House, London, from its Sec- 
retary, and are thought to be here published for the first time in their 
original language. 

The first relates the voyages of 1682-3, when Radisson was employed 
by the French. An English translation of it, apparently made by Radisson, 
had been given in the Prince Society's volume. 

The second, for the year 1684, when Radisson had again taken service 
with the Hudson Bay Company, is that of which a translation, probably by 
Gideon D. Scull, the editor, had been published in the same volume for 
the Prince Society. 

Dr. Brymner comments briefly on these journals in pages xxii-xxiii. 

See France j Colonial Archives. 

Canadian Families, Genealogical Dictionary of; see Tanguay. 

Canadian Magazine, Toronto, May and June, 1899; see IV ills on. 

Carey, Hon. John R. History of Duluth, and of St. Louis County, to 
the Year 1870. (Minnesota Historical Society Collections, vol. ix, 1901, 
pp. 241-278.) Groseilliers and Radisson, at the beginning of this paper, 
"are said to have been the first white men to visit Minnesota." 

Charlevoix, Pierre Francois Xavier de. Histoire et Description Gcn- 
erale de la Nouvelle France. (3 vols., Paris, 1744.) Vol. i, pp. 476-48% 
498. Relating only to the voyages by sea to Hudson bay and events there, 
after the expeditions to Minnesota. 

Translation of this work, by John Gilmary Shea. (6 vols.. New 
York, 1866-72.) Vol. iii, pp. 230-237, 261. 

Coyne, James H., Translator and Editor. Exploration of the Great 
Lakes, 1669-1670, by Dollier dc Casson and De Brehant de Galinee. (On- 
tario Historical Society Papers and Records, vol. iv; Toronto. [903.) In 
the Introduction of this work, the editor refers (page XVli) to the western 
expeditions of Groseilliers and Radisson. which he supposes to have been 
three in number, in the years 1054-50. [658-60, and [660-QJ. In the second 
they arc thought to have reached the Mississippi river. 



Davidson, Rev. John Nelson. Missions on Chequamegon Bay. (Col- 
lections of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, vol. xii, 1892, pp. 
434-452.) Pages 434-5 refer briefly to Groseilliers and Radisson, and the 
date of their coming to Chequamegon bay is assigned to the autumn of 1661. 

Davidson, Rev. John Nelson. In Unnamed Wisconsin. (Milwaukee, 
1895.) Pages 2-8. if, 12, 15, 16, 61, 176, 210, 277, 278. The first western 
expedition of these Frenchmen is referred to the years 1658-60, and the 
second to 1661-62. 

Denonville, Marquis de, Governor of Canada; see Nezu York Docu- 

Dionne, Narcisse E. Chouart et Radisson. (Proceedings and Trans- 
actions of the Royal Society of Canada, vol. xi, for 1893, section i, pp. 115- 
135; and vol. xii, for 1S94, sec. i, pp. 29-48.) 

The first part of this memoir, published in volume xi, relates to the 
four land expeditions narrated by Radisson, of which the third and fourth, 
to the far west, noticed in pages 126-133, are the subject of the present 
paper. The second part, in volume xii. treats of Radisson's later narra- 
tives of voyages by sea to Hudson bay and the conflicts between the French 
and English in the establishment of the fur trade there. 

The author ascribes the first western expedition of Groseilliers (here 
called Chouart)" and Radisson to the years 1658-60. No attention is given 
to the statement that they traveled far to the south, nor is there any dis- 
cussion of the place of "the first landing isle." On the supposition that the 
Jesuit Relation of 1660 describes this expedition, it is thought that it extend- 
ed across the Mississippi to the Sioux of the prairie region. 

After a year at home, the second expedition west, according to Dionne. 
was in 1661-63, including a trip to Hudson bay, as Radisson asserted, 
which is thought to have been by the way of the Lake of the Woods, lake 
Winnipeg, and the Nelson river. The routes of travel to the south and 
southwest from Chequamegon bay, bringing these traders into Minnesota, 
to the great council and feast with the Sioux and Crees, are not consid- 

Ducas L'Abbe G. L'Ouest Canadien : sa Decouverte par le Sieur de 
la Verendrye, son Exploitation par les Compagnies de Traiteurs jusqu' a 
l'Annee 1822. (Montreal. 1896. Pages 413.) The careers of Groseilliers 
and Radisson are the theme of pages 21-37, chief attention being given to 
their voyages by sea to Hudson bay. Their land expeditions to the North- 
west are assigned to 1658-60 and 1661-64, with a journey overland to Hud- 
son bay in 1663, agreeing thus with Prud 'homme. 

Ellis. Henry. A Voyage to Hudson's-Bay, by the Dobbs Galley and 
California, in the Years 1746 and 1747, for Discovering a Northwest PtS- 
sage. (London, 1748. Pages xxviii, 336.) 

The part taken by Groseilliers and Radisson in the exploration of Hud- 
son bay by sea voyages and in establishment of the fur trade there and 
founding of the Hudson Bay Company, is related in page! 71-77, partly as 
follows : 



"Mr. Jeremie, who was Governor at Port-Nelson, while it was in the 
Hands of the French, and who. without doubt, had better Opportunities of 
knowing the Matters of which he writes, than most other People, gives us 
this Account of the Matter. He says, that one Mr. de Groiseleiz, an Inhab- 
itant of Canada, a bold and enterprizing Man, and one who had travelled 
much in those Parts.pushed his Discoveries at length so far. that he reached 
the Coasts of Hudson"s-Bay from the French Settlement by Land. Upon 
his Return, he prevailed upon seme of his Countrymen at Quebeck, to fit 
out a Bark for perfecting this Discovery by Sea ; which being done, and he 
landing upon the Coast," 

The narrative tells further that disagreement with the Quebec mer- 
chants caused "Mr. Rattisson" to be sent to France with an appeal for re- 
dress; that "Mr. de Groiseleiz'' later went also to France, but that both 
failed of their purpose to secure patronage of their phn for fur trading in 
the Hudson bay region ; and that then they entered into service for the 

"K Letter from Mr. Oldenburgh, the first Secretary to the Royal Soci- 
ety," is quoted in part as follows, concerning the alleged journey of Groseil- 
liers and Radisson from lake Superior to Hudson bay : "these Men affirm- 
ing, as I heard, that with a Boat they went out of a Lake in Canada into a 
River, which discharged itself North West into the South-Sea, into which 
they went and returned North, East into Hudson's-Bay." 

Thus the plausible pretensions of Radisson, partly as written in his 
narratives and partly as orally communicated to the King at Oxford, led 
a prominent officer of the highest scientific society in England to believe not 
only that these French adventurers went overland to Hudson bay, but even 
that they had crossed from lake Superior to the Pacific ocean, and thence 
had come back northeastward to Hudson bay. Assurance was gained, that 
these great bodies of water extended into proximity to each other ; and a 
hope was raised, that between them might be found the greatly desired 
"Northwest Passage." 

See Jeremie and Oldmixon. 

Flandrau, Judge Charles E. The History of Minnesota and Tales 
of the Frontier. (St. Paul, 1900. Pages 408.) Groseiliiers and Radisson 
are very briefly mentioned on page 3. 

Folsom. W. H. C. Fifty Years in the Northwest. (St. Paul. [888. 
Pages, 763.) In the expedition of these Frenchmen to lake Superior, which 
is referred to the year 1659, it is thought that they visited '"the site of Du- 
luth" (p. 488). 

France, Colonial Archives of. 

Only small parts selected from the vast mass of the Colonial Archives 
of France have been published. These records, largely relating tc the col- 
onies of Canada and Louisiana, are of inestimable value for our early 
American history, but can contribute probably nothing on the period of this 
paper. Reports on their examination, so far as they concern Canada and 
the United States, have been published as follows: 



Notes pour servir a l'Histoire, a la Bibliographic, et a la Cartographie, 
de la Nouvelle-France et des pays adjacents, 1545-1700. Par l'Auteur de 
la Bibliotheca Americana Vetustissima [Henry Harrisse]. Paris, 1872. 
(Pages xxxiii, 367; including a good index.) 

Report on French Archives, by Joseph Marmette; included as a part 
of Dr. Douglas Brymner's Report on Canadian Archives for 1885, in pages 

Supplement to Dr. Brymner's Report on Canadian Archives. By Mr. 
Edouard Richard. [For] 1899. Ottawa, 1901. (548 pages.) 

Harrisse stated (on page v) that the early archives belonging to the 
period of greatest interest in the present work, such as might contain refer- 
ences to the western expeditions of Groseilliers and Radisson, have been 
destroyed or cannot be found. He wrote, as translated : "The letters of 
Pierre Voyer d'Argenson, governor of Canada from 1658 to 1661, were in 
the Library of the Louvre (burned in the month of May, 1871) ; a part of 
those of M. de Montmagny, who administered the colony from 1636 to 1648, 
is at the National Archives ; but the despatches of Louis d'Aiilebout de 
Coulonges (1648-1651-7), of Lauson (1651-1656), of the Marquis de Tracy 
(1665-1667), and of M. de Courcelles (166S-1672) , cannot be found." 

This statement is quoted by Marmette (page xxviii), in 1885, and 
again by Richard (page 18), in 1899, as still presenting all that can be told 
for these parts of the early archives relating to Canada, after their very 
thorough examinations of these exceedingly voluminous old manuscript 
records. They comprise, in total, nearly 30,000 registers, cartons (draw- 
ings), and papers, "in perfect order," but "now located in the attic story 
of the Louvre, and anything but safe from the danger of fire." (Richard's 
Report, pp. 1, 15.) 

See Canadian Archives, New France, and New York. 

Franquelin, J. B. Carte de l'Amerique Septentrionale . . . conten- 
ant le Pays de Canada, ou la Nouvelle France, la Louisiane, etc., 1688. 
(The Lake Superior and Minnesota part of this ancient manuscript map is 
printed in Neill's History of Minnesota, frontispiece of the fourth edition, 
1882; and Geol. Survey of Minnesota. Final Report, vol. i, 1884, pi. 2.) The 
river named on this map "R. des Grossillers," flowing into the northwest 
side of lake Superior, near its west end, has been thought to be named for 
Groseilliers ; but its position corresponds well with the present Gooseberry 
river, which would be the meaning of that French name. This is the 
translation of its Ojibway name, as stated by Rev. J. A. Gilfillan (Geol. 
Survey of Minn., Fifteenth Annual Report, for 1886, p. 454). See page 513 
of this paper. 

Garneau, Francois Xavier. History of Canada, . . . translated by 
Andrew Bell. (Montreal, 1866. Two volumes.) Pages 251-2, in volume 
i, refer to "two young traders," who in 1659-60 made an expedition to 
lake Superior and the SlOUX, according to the Relation and Journal of 
the Jesuits, 1660. "They confirmed the report of two other Frenchmen 
who visited lake Michigan four years previously." 



Gary, George. Studies in the Early History of the Fox River Valley. 
(Oshkosh, Wis. [ipoi.] Pages 267, and Index.) The first western expe- 
dition of Groseilliers and Radisson is noticed in pages 17-20, and is referred 
to the years 1658-60. It is thought that they traveled by the way of the Fox 
and Wisconsin river valleys to the Mississippi. 

Genealogical Dictionary of Canadian Families ; see Tanguay. 

Groseilliers, Medard Chouart, Sieur des, Letter in 1683 ; see New 
France, Collection of Documents, and Neill. 

Guerin, Leon. L'Histoire Maritime de France. (Four editions, 1842- 
51.) Volume iii mentions the sea voyages of Groseilliers and Radisson, 
belonging to the period after their land expeditions to Minnesota. 

Hebbard, S. S. History of Wisconsin under the Dominion of France. 
(Madison, Wis., 1890. Pages 178.) The western explorations of Groseil- 
liers and Radisson are traced on pages 19-26. During Radisson's canoeing 
and hunting with the Indians in the summer of 1659 (the first expedition 
being referred to the years 1658-60), he is confidently believed to have en- 
tered the Mississippi river. The second expedition is thought to have 
occupied a single year, from the summer of 1661 to that of 1662. 

Reviewing the achievements of Radisson, the author gives the follow- 
ing estimate of him : "This gay, rollicking Frenchman was a wise, brave, 
honest and great man. Few careers have blended so much of romance and 
solid service as his. The discovery of the Mississippi, the first exploration 
of lake Superior, the founding of a vast commercial enterprise which for 
two centuries controlled half the continent — how many among the famous 
have done so much as this?" 

Hill, Alfred J. The Geography of Perrot, so far as it relates to Min- 
nesota and the Regions immediately adjacent. (Minn. Hist. Soc. Collec- 
tions, vol. ii, pp. 200-214. St. Paul, 1867; reprinted 1889.) This subject 
is very closely related to the geography and chronology of Radisson's Voy- 
ages. See Perrot. 

Hill, Alfred J. Associated with Hon. J. V. Brovver, as noted under 
his name, foregoing, in the history and discussion of the early Spanish, 
French, and English explorers of the Mississippi river (Minnesota Histor- 
ical Society Collections, vol. vii, 1893). Besides the Appendix of this vol- 
ume, in pages 305-352, Mr. Hill also contributed a large part of its histor- 
ical and cartographical work, which is accredited to him explicitly in pages 
289-292. The part thus contributed mainly by him fills pages 14-118, in 
which the expeditions of Groseilliers and Radisson are considered in pages 
47-58. See Broker. 

Historical Societies; see Minnesota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. 

Hosmer, James K. A Short History of the Mississippi Valley. (Bos- 
ton, 1901. Pages 230.) The upper Mississippi is stated to have boon 
reached by Groseilliers and Radisson in 1654 or 1655 (pp. 34. 4?)« 

Hudson Bay Company. History; see Bryce and WiiUon, 




Incarnation, Marie (Guyard) de P. Lettres de la Reverende Mere 
Marie de l'lncarnation. Edited by P. F. Richaudeau. (Tournai, 1876. 
Two volumes.) Letter xxxv, dated at Quebec, August 27, 1670. as trans- 
lated by Neil! (Magazine of Western History, vol. vii, p. 418, Feb., 1888), 
says: "A Frenchman of our Touraine named des Groseiliiers married in 
this country, and as he had not been successful in making a fortune, was 
seized with a fancy to go to New England to better his condition. He 
excited a hope among the English that he had found a passage to the sea 
of the north." 

(These Letters were originally published at Paris in 1681.) 

Jeremie, Noel. Relation du Detroit et de la Baie d'Hudson. (Am- 
sterdam, 1710.) This earliest writer on the travels of Groseiliiers and 
Radisson, cited by several in later times, fell in with what was probably a 
general credence of Radisson's assertion that they went beyond lake Super- 
ior to lake Winnipeg, and thence to Hudson bay. See Ellis, Oldmixon, and 

The Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents : Travels and Ex- 
plorations of the Jesuit Missionaries in New France, 1610-1791, the 
Original French, Latin, and Italian Texts, with English Translations and 
Notes; Illustrated by Portraits, Maps, and Facsimiles. Edited by Reuben 
Gold Thwaites, Secretary of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin. 
(Cleveland, Ohio, 1896-1901. 73 volumes, the last two being an elaborate 

Volume xxviii, 1898, pp. 229, 319-320, Following the conclusion of 
Campbell, as published in 1896, Thwaites regards the unnamed explorers 
mentioned in the Relation of 1656 as Groseiliiers and Radisson. returning 
from their first western expedition. "They again journeyed westward, in 
the summer of 1659, and spent the winter near Lake Pepin, among the 
Sioux tribes then located southwest of Lake Superior" (p. 320). 

Volume xlii, 1809, pp. 218-223, 2 9&- Chapter xiv in the Relation of 
J&55-56 tells of the return to Lower Canada, in August, 1656, of "two young 
Frenchmen' from explorations and trading with the Indians in the region 
of the upper Great Lakes, as quoted in this paper (p. 474). Thwaites says 
, in his notes: "The identity of those two French explorers was long un- 
known; but recent historical researches sufficiently confirm the opinion that 
they were Radisson and Groseiliiers. This is the first mention (so far as 
known), in contemporary documents, of their discoveries." 

Volume xliv, 1809, pp. 237, 247, 324. "The two Frenchmen." men- 
tioned in the Relation of 1657-58 as having visited the Indian tribes west of 
lake Michigan, are identified as Groseiliiers and Radisson. 

Volume xlv, 1S99, pp. 160-163. The Journal of the Jesuits tor August, 
1660, notes the arrival at Montreal, August 19th, of three hundred Ottawas. 
with Groseiliiers in their company, as before quoted (p. 510). Ho I 
"wintered with the nation of the ox." that is, the Sioux of the buffalo 

The same volume xlv, in pages 233-230, has the account, in Chapter iii 
of the Relation of 1659-60, concerning "two Frenchmen, " not there named. 



who returned in August, 1660, from the upper lake region, "with three 
hundred Algonquins, in sixty canoes loaded with furs." This passage has 
been quoted (p. 517). The parallel account in the Journal of the Jesuits, 
just cited, makes it completely known that these pioneers of the fur trade 
were Groseilliers and Radisson. 

As the Relations of 1656 and 1568 (vols, xlii and xliv) speak in a pre- 
cisely similar manner of two French pioneer traders and explorers of the 
far west, without giving their names, it seems a very safe inference, with 
all the light on this subject given in the present paper, to regard them in 
each instance as the same, agreeing thus with the narratives of Radisson, 
and with Campbell's discussion of their chronology. 

Volume xlvi, 1899, p. 69, mentions, in Chapter vi of the Relation of 
1659-60, an alliance made with the Sioux by "the two Frenchmen who re- 
turned from their country this summer' (1660). 

Volume xlvii, 1899, p. 279, states in the Journal of the Jesuits for May, 
1662, that early in that month Groseilliers and ten other men were on a 
voyage down the St. Lawrence, passing Quebec, with the intention of "go- 
ing to the North sea" (Hudson bay), either in canoes, by the route of the 
Saguenay, or, more probably in a small sailing vessel, by the sea route 
around Labrador. See Ellis. 

Jesuits, Journal of the, 1660 and 1662; see Jesuit Relations and Al- 
lied Documents, vols, xlv and xlvii. 

Kerr, Prof. Robert F. The Voyage of Groseilliers and Radisson in 
the Northwest from 1652 to 1684. (South Dakota Historical Society Col- 
lections, vol. i, 1902, pp. 163-178.) 

The purpose of this paper, as stated on its title page, is "to negatively 
settle the contention that these men visited Dakota." A tradition has been 
variously published, which is here given as follows : ''Two young Canad- 
ian fur traders accompanied a party of Indians to the far west, in 1654, and, 
it is thought, were the first white men who entered the present Territory 
of Dakota." A local newspaper writer, quoted by A. T. Andreas (Histori- 
cal Atlas of Dakota, 18S4, p. 176), claims that in 1654 the two traders 
reached Jerauld county, in South Dakota, between the James and Missouri 
rivers. Professor Kerr shows that this tradition, referring probably to the 
expeditions of Groseilliers and Radisson, is not supported by Radisson"s 
narratives, which he quotes at considerable length. He thinks that if they 
possibly came to South Dakota in either expedition, it was in the second, 
during the six weeks of their visit with the Prairc Sioux, which he suppos- 
es to have been in the summer of 1659. 

The two western expeditions are attributed to the years 1654-56 and 
1658-60. It is thought that in the first expedition Groseilliers and Radis- 
son "traversed a good part of the Mississippi," and that they may have 
"visited the Missouri as far as the Platte;" but that they did not piU 
through South Dakota and Minnesota, on the ground of Radisson'] asser- 
tion that they did not see the Sioux at that time, 

Kingsford, William. The History of Canada. (Toronto. [887-1898. 
10 volumes.) Pages 1-12 and 45-49, in volume iii, iS8<;, notice the relation 


of Groseilliers and Radisson to the beginnings of English commerce with 
the region of Hudson bay. The author ignores the narratives of the four 
land expeditions, ascribed to Radisson's authorship, in the volume pub- 
lished by the Prince Society, declaring that part to be "without value/' and 
apparently "the work of a writer of fiction." 

He says :- "It is difficult to find authority for the statement put forth 
of the original discovery of Hudson's Eay by des Groselliers and Radisson, 
on which so much stress has been laid" (p. 5) ; and again: "The names of 
two common-place adventurers have obtained mention in the chronicle of 
those days, to which they are in no way entitled; from the circumstance 
that they were brought forward by the French, for want of a better argu- 
ment to sustain their pretensions to early discovery" (p. 12). 

Kirk, Thomas H. Illustrated History of Minnesota. (St. Paul, 1887. 
Pages 244.) The two western expeditions of Groseilliers and Radisson are 
noticed in pages 26-28 and 192. The first is referred to the years 1658-60 ; 
and the second, to lake Superior and the Sioux in Minnesota, is supposed 
to have been begun a few weeks later. 

Laut, Agnes C. Heralds of Empire, being the Story of One Ramsay 
Stanhope, Lieutenant to Pierre Radisson in the Northern Fur Trade. (New 
York: D. Appleton and Co., 1902. Pages viii, 372.) This highly imagin- 
ative and exciting fiction makes Radisson its hero, of great daring, ambi- 
tion, and adroitness, but entirely selfish and often resorting to falsehood. 
Its scenes are laid in Boston and London, on the sea, and in the region of 
Hudson bay, treating of a period later than Radisson's expeditions with 
Groseilliers to Minnesota. 

Laut, Agnes C. The Real Discoverer of the Northwest ; the Story- of 
Radisson's Most Wonderful Journey. (Leslie's Monthly Magazine, vol. 
lviii, pp. 275-283; July, 1904.) 

In this vivacious sketch, which purports to be based upon real history, 
the author gives an account of these Frenchmen and their dealings with the 
Indians on their western expeditions. She apparently considers the two 
journeys narrated by Radison as comprised in one expedition, from 1655 or 
1656 to 1660. and that it extended westward to within sight of the outlying 
foothills of the Rocky mountains and "circled over the territory now known 
as Wisconsin, South Dakota, Montana, and back over North Dakota and 
Minnesota to the North shore of Lake Superior." The chronology, routes 
of travel, various incidents, and sequence of events, which Radisson relat- 
ed, are confusedly intermingled. 

A previous article by this author in the same magazine is entitled "The 
Real Discoverer of the Northwest; the Story of a Wonderful Boyhood" 
(vol. lvii, pp. 667-678, April, 1904). It gives a very graphic narration of 
Radisson's captivity among the Mohawks and his escape, belonging wholly 
to the time preceding the far western expeditions. 

Legler, Henry E. Leading Events of Wisconsin History. ( Milwau- 
kee, 1898. Pages 322.) The travels of Groseilliers and RadiSMU are noticed 
in pages 24, 47-51, and 137. Although Chapter li details somewhat fully 



"The Strange Adventures of Radisson," the routes and dates of the expe- 
ditions are not very exactly stated. Concerning their supposed journeying 
to the Mississippi river, the author thinks that "evidence is lacking to prove 
the surmise." 

Leslie's Monthly Magazine, April and July, 1904; see Laut. 

Lucas, C. P. A Historical Geography of the British Colonies. Vol- 
ume V. Canada. Part I (New France). (Oxford, England, 1901. Pages 
364.) Voyages of Groseilliers and Radisson by sea to Hudson bay, 1668- 
1684, are noticed in pages 185-7. Their pretended overland journey to the 
Bay from lake Superior is doubted. 

Macalester College Contributions, St. Paul, Minn., 1890, 1892; see 
Neil I. 

McCormick, Hon. Robert Laird. Press History of Sawyer County, 
Wisconsin. (Hay ward, Wis., April, 1898. Pages 20.) The second west- 
ern expedition of Groseilliers and Radisson is noticed in pages 4-5 and 7, 
being referred to the years 1659-60. Lac Courte Oreille, in Sawyer county, 
is regarded as the destination of their journey of four days southward from 
Chequamegon bay, coming to a village of the Huron refugees. See Verwyst. 

McCormick, Hon. Robert Laird. A short letter, dated Dec. 26th, 
1902, is published by Hon. J. V. Brower in Volume vi of his "Memoirs of 
Explorations in the Basin of the Mississippi," 1903, p. 72. In this letter 
Mr. McCormick writes : "Historical students would welcome further in- 
formation regarding the travels of these two explorers who doubtless saw 
the Upper Mississippi years before Joliet and Marquette, but in the absence 
of documentary testimony it is presumption to seriously claim that Radis- 
son crossed Wisconsin on snowshoes from Green Bay to the Mississippi 
River in 1654-55." 

Macmillan's Magazine, Jan., 1901 ; see Bradley. 

Magazine of Western History, Feb., 1888 ; see Neill, and Incarnation. 

. Manchester [England] Geographical Society, 1895; see Bron-cr. 

Marie de LTncarnation, Letters; see Incarnation. 

Martin, Sarah Greene, and Deborah Beaumont Martin, with Ella 
Hoes Neville. Historic Green Bay. See Neville. 

Michigan Political Science Association; see Moore. 

Minneapolis, Metropolis of the Northwest. See Morrison* 

Minnesota Historical Society Collections. 

Volume i, 1850-56; reprinted, 1872; again reprinted, 190 J. The Preface 
to the edition of 1902, and a note on page 3, identify "the two early French 
explorers and traders, long unknown by name, who fust traveled to the 
upper Mississippi and the area of Minnesota in 1055-0 and again in the 
winter of 1659-60, as Groseilliers and Radisson." 

Volume ii, 1807; see Hill and Pcnot. 



Volume v, 1885 ; see Neill. 

Volume vii, 1893 ; see Drawer and Hill. 

Volume viii, 1895-8; see Blakeley and B rower. 

Volume ix, 1901 ; see Baker and Carey. * 

Moore, Charles. The Discoverers of Lake Superior. (Publications 
of the Michigan Political Science Association, vol. is, pp. 199-21 1. Ann 
Arbor, Jan., 1897.) The two western journeys of Groseilliers and Radis- 
son are referred to 1658-60 and 1661-63. It is doubted that they saw the 
Mississippi, but the claim of an overland trip to Hudson bay is accepted. 
The chronology carefully studied out a year before by Campbell is consid- 
ered and rejected. 

Moore, Charles. The Northwest under Three Flags, 1635-1796. (New 
York, 1900. Pages xxiii, 402.) These Frenchmen are noticed in pages 9- 
21, nearly as in the preceding paper ; but the second expedition is supposed 
to end in 1662, and no mention is made of its alleged continuation to Hud- 
son bay. 

Morrison, Andrew, Editor. Minneapolis, Metropolis of the Northwest. 
(1887. Pages 218.) Groseilliers and Radisson are mentioned at length as 
the first white men in Minnesota, and later, through their influence in Eng- 
land, founders of the Hudson Bay Company (pp. 9, 10). 

Neill, Rev. Edward Duffield. The History of Minnesota, from the 
earliest French Explorations to the Present Time. (Four editions, 1858, 
1873, 1878, and 1882.) 

In all the editions, pages 103-4 briefly mention Groseilliers and Rad- 
isson, and credit to the former a journey, in or about 1659-60, to lakes 
Superior and Winnipeg, and thence to Hudson bay, being conducted thith- 
er by the Assiniboines. 

The preface of the third edition credits to them an expedition in 1659 
to La Pointe and Chequamcgon bay ; thence to the Hurcns in northwestern 
Wisconsin ; thence to the Mille Lacs region of Minnesota, wintering with 
the Sioux; thence, in 1660, to lake Winnipeg, and onward to Hudson bay; 
with return by the same route to lake Superior, and to Montreal on the 19th 
of August, 1660. 

The same matter is presented, with changes and the addition of bio- 
graphic details, in the fourth edition, pages 803-5 and 855 ; but the journey 
to Hudson bay is there referred to a later expedition of Groseilliers, in 
1662-3, by way of lake Nepigon instead of lake Winnipeg. 

Neill, Edward D. Explorers and Pioneers of Minnesota. (Minnea- 
polis, 1881-82. Pages 1-128.) This was published as the first part in num- 
erous histories of counties and districts of this state, including Dakota 
Hennepin, and Ramsey counties, each a separate volume, 18S1 ; Washington 
county and the St. Croix Valley, (88l ; and the Upper Mississippi Valley, 
1881. It was also published the next year in the histories of Fillmore, Free- 
born, Houston, and Rice counties, and of the Minnesota Valley, five vol- 



Chapter I, in six pages, refers somewhat fully to Groseilliers and Rad- 
isscn. An expedition by them to lake Superior is referred to the years 
1659-60; and a second expediton, also to lake Superior, but continuing 
thence to Hudson bay, is thought to have been made in 1660-62. 

Neill, Edward D. Discovery along the Great Lakes. (Chapter V, pp. 
163-197, in Vol. iv, 1884, of Winsors Narrative and Critical History of 
America.) Pages 168-172, 197. 

Neill, Edward D. Minnesota Historical Society Collections, vol. v, 
1885, pp. 401-4. 

Neill, Edward D. Groseilliers and Radisson, the First Exrlorers of 
Lake Superior and the State of Minnesota. (Magazine of Western His- 
tory, vol. vii, pp. 412-421, Feb., 1888.) 

The first western expedition is said to have begun in June, 1659, the 
return being in August, 1660 ; and Neill's description combines parts of 
what Radisson relates for both the first and second western expeditions. 
Neill states that Groseilliers and Radisson went again to lake Superior in 
the same year 1660, starting August 27 with Father Menard ; that Groseil- 
liers returned to Lower Canada in 1661, but went back, to seek a route to 
Hudson bay, in 1662 ; and that he and Radisson, and also other Frenchmen 
who had gone with them to lake Superior in 1660, returned August 5, 1663. 
The pretended journeys to the Gulf of Mexico and to Hudson bay overland 
are not mentioned. 

The following foot-note, on page 413, explains why so little care was 
taken to follow the narratives of Radisson in this confused and unwarrant- 
able account of the expeditions to the region of Minnesota: ''The Journals 
of Radisson, published by the Prince Society of Boston, in 1S85, cannot be 
trusted for dates, but are correct in the description of the customs of the 
tribes he visited." 

Neill, Edward D. Wisconsin Historical Society Collections, vol. x, 
1888, pp. 292-297. Accepting the supposed chronology of the Prince Society s 
volume, the first western expedition is referred to the years 1658-60, and 
the second to i662-'63 or '64. 

Neill, Edward D. Macalester College Contributions, first series, 1S00; 
pp. 86-94. 223-4. The expedition to lake Superior, narrated by Radisson, is 
restricted to about one year, in 1659-60; and two later expeditions by Gros- 
eilliers are noted, with return from the last August 5, 1063. Perrot's ac- 
count of the wanderings of the Hurons and Ottawas is transhted ; but no 
suggestion appears that Radisson's "first landing isle," not here mentioned, 
was their place of refuge, "Prairie island (Pelee)"' on the Mississippi. 

Neill, Edward D. Macalester College Contributions, second series 
1892; pp. 152-158, giving a translation of a "Letter of Sieur des Groseilliers, 
the first white man to conduct an expedition to the Sioux." Tins letter, 
believed to be the only one extant of his writing, was addressed to the M.u- 
quis Seignelay at Paris in 1683, concerning the recent hostilities and rcpris- 


als between the French and English on Hudson bay. See New France, Col- 
lection de Documents. 

Neville, Ella Hoes, Sarah Greene Martin, and Deborah Beau- 
mont Martin. Historic Green Bay, 1634- 1840. (Green Bay, Wis., 1893. 
Pages 285.) The first western expedition of Groseilliers and Radisson is 
noticed in pages 17-24 and 40. The authors say of Radisson's Voyages, that 
"his journal is a valuable addition to history; his quick wit brightens all 
that he looked upon." It is thought that this expedition was in ,1658-60, 
reaching the Mississippi in 1659; and that a part of the ensuing winter was 
spent "near the headwaters of the Chippewa." Nothing is said of "the 
first landing isle." The second expedition is not considered, because its 
route did not include Green Bay. 

New France. — Collection de Documents relatifs a l'Histoire de la 
Nouvelle-France. . [Edited by Hon. J. Blanchet, Secretary of the Prov- 
ince of Quebec] 

The more complete title of this work reads as follows : Collection de 
Manuscrits, contenant Lettres, Memoires, et autres Documents Historiques 
relatifs a la Nouvelle-France, recueillis aux Archives de la Province de Que- 
bec, ou copies a l'et ranger : mis en ordre et edites sous les auspices de la 
Legislature de Quebec; avec table, etc. (Quebec, 1883-85. 4 volumes, 
chronologically arranged, 1492-1789; indexed.) 

Groseilliers and Radisson, in their voyages to Hudson bay and conduct 
there, 1681-84, are noticed in Volume I, pages 283, 296-7, 302-3, 314-16, 318, 
319, 320, 324, 331-2, 337, 360, 394- 

Under the year 1683, but without more exact date, is given a "Lettre 
de Mons. Desgroseilliers au Ministre" (p. 314-16), which is evidently the 
same as that of which Dr. Neill later published an English translation in 
his "Macalester College Contributions" (Second Series, 1892, pp. 152-8). 
Neither Blanchet nor Neill. however, designates the source whence the let- 
ter, as thus respectively published, was obtained. The French and English 
versions differ somewhat in spelling proper names and in other details ; and 
the latter has some short passages which were wanting, or were illegible, 
in the original French letter. See Neill. 

New York : Documents relative to the Colonial History of the 
State of New York : procured in Holland, England and France, by John 
Romeyn Brodhead, Esq., Agent, . . . Edited by E. B. O'Callaghan. M.D. 
(Albany, 1853-8, 10 volumes; with a General Index, Vol. xi, i86r, and vols, 
xii-xiv, 1877-83, edited by B. Fernow.) 

Volume ix, 1855, mentions Groseilliers and Radisson in pages 67. 921, 
251, 268, 305, 428, 794-801, and 919. The most important statements, as re- 
lated to the present research, arc on page 305. in a "Memoir in proof of the 
Right of the French to the Iroquois country and to Hudson's Bay." which 
was sent from Quebec, Nov. 8, 1686, by Denonville, Governor of Canada, 

to Seignelay in Paris. Minister of the Marine and Colonies. Penonviile 
wrote: "The English in justification of their pretended right to the North 
Bay may allege that they made the first discovery thereof; . . . finally. 




that in 1662 ,they established themselves there, having been conducted 
thither by Radisson and des Groselliers to the head (fonds) of the North 

"The settlement made by the English in 1662 at the head of the North 
Bay does not give them any title, because it has been already remarked, 
that the French were in possession of those countries, and had traded with 
the Indians of that Bay, which is proved still better by the knowledge the 
men named Desgroselliers and Radisson had of those parts where they in- 
troduced the English. They had traded there, no doubt, with the old French 
Coureurs de bois. Besides, it is a thing unheard of that rebellious subjects 
could convey any right to countries belonging to their Sovereign." 

O'Callaghan, E. B., Editor ; see New York, Documents. 

Ogg, Frederic Austin. The Opening of the Mississippi, a Struggle for 
Supremacy in the American Interior. (New York, 1904. Pages 670.) 

The far western travels of Groseilliers and Radisson are considered in 
pages 53-56. Their first expedition is conjectured to have been in 1654-56, 
they being the unnamed French traders who are mentioned in the Jesuit 
Relation. A second expedition is thought to have been made by Groseilliers 
in 1658-59, "trading and exploring on the shores of Lake Superior," with 
return to the St. Lawrence "in the spring of 1659." Next, "within a few 
weeks," Groseilliers and Radisson traveled again to lake Superior, this time 
exploring the south shore to La Pointe and Chequamegcn bay, spending the 
winter in "many excursions among the surrounding tribes," and returning 
to Lower Canada in the summer of 1660. 

Groseilliers and other traders are said to have made a later expedition 
to lake Superior, going in August, 1660, and returning in 1663. 

It is thought that they did not reach the Mississippi river in any of 
these expeditions, though coming to some of its eastern tributaries. This 
author makes no reference to Radisson's assertions that they went to the 
Gulf of Mexico and to Hudson bay. 

Oldenburg, Henry, Secretary of the Royal Society, London, 1663-77; 
see Ellis, citing a letter from him. 

Oldmixon, John. The British Empire in America. (Second edition. 
London, 1741. Two volumes.) 

The last article of volume i, in pages 542-567, entitled "The History of 
Hudson's-Bay," has the following on page 544: "Monsieur Radison and 
Monsieur Gooselier, two Frenchmen, meeting with some Savacos in the 
Lake of Assimponals in Canada, they learnt of them that they might go by 
Land to the Bottom of the Bay, where the English had not yet been ; upon 
which they desired them to conduct them thither, and the Savages accord- 
ingly did it. The two Frenchmen returned to the upper Lake the same way 
they came, and thence to Quebec." .... 

The narrative proceeds with their efforts to interest the merchants of 
Canada and France, and later of England, in the establishment ot the Hud- 
son Bay fur trade. It indicates that Radisson's assertion of their \1-1t to 


Hudson bay by land during the second western expedition was generally 
believed in England. 

See Ellis and Jeremie. 

Ontario Historical Society, vol. iv, Toronto, 1903; see Coyne. 

Parker, Gileert . The Trail of the Sword. (New York, 1894.) Of 
this novel, portraying Radisson's career, Prof. George Bryce says (Proc. 
Royal Society of Canada, 1898, sec. ii, pp. 53-4) : "The character, thorough- 
ly repulsive in this work of fiction, does not look to be the real Radisson. 
.... We shall find Radisson alive a dozen or more years after the tragic 
end given him by the artist." 

■ Park MAN, Francis. La Salle and the Discovery of the Great West. — 
The Introduction, in the editions of 1893 and later, refers to the first west- 
ern expedition of Groseilliers and Radisson as made in 1658-9, piobably 
reaching the Mississippi. 

Parkman, Francis. The Old Regime in Canada. — In the editions of 
1894 an d later, a foot-note on pages 137-8 cites Radisson's account of the 
destruction of Daulac, or Dollard, and his party at the Long Saut. It is 
supposed that the time of the second western expedirion, at the end of 
which this is related, places it three years after its true date, which was 
in May, 1660. 

Parkman Club Publications, Milwaukee, Wis., 1895-8; see Camp- 
bell and Stickncy. 

Parliamentary Manuscripts, 1685-6 and 1690; cited by Kingsford. 

Pf.rrot, Nicolas. Memoire sur les Moeurs, Coustumes et Relligion 
des Sauvages de l'Amerique Septentrionale. Publie pour la premiere fois 
par le R. P. J. Tailhan, de la Compagnie de Jesus. (Leipzig and Paris, 
1864. Pages 341, with pages xliii of Index and Table of Contents.) 

An extended quotation has been given (pp. 523-525), translated from 
pages 85-88 in Chapter XV of this book, concerning the settlement of the 
fugitive Hurons and Ottawas for a few years on Isle Pelee (Prairie Is- 

Quotations covering a somewhat larger part of Perrot's work have 
been elsewhere published, in translation, first in 1867 by Alfred J. Hill in 
the Minnesota Historical Society Collections, vol. ii, pp. 200-214, reprinted 
in 1889; an d by the Wisconsin Historical Society Collections, vol. xvi, 1002. 
pp. 10-21. The occupation of Prairie island by the Huron and Ottawa ex- 
iles, as thus noted, was very intimately connected with the expeditions of 
Groseilliers and Radisson. It is indeed a key to the correct understanding 
of the routes of their first expedition, and to the identification of Prairie 
island as Radisson's "first landing isle." 

Perrot's Memoir fills 156 pages; and the notes of the Rev. J. Tailhan. 
as editor, fill pages 157-341. Both parts shed much light on Radisson's nar- 



Potherie, De Bacqueville de la. Histoire de l'Amerique Septentrion- 
ale. (Paris, 1722. 4 volumes.) Pages 141-145, in the first volume, treat of 
the connection of Groseilliers and Radisson with the establishment of the 
fur trade in the region of Hudson bay. 

Prince Society Publications. 

Voyages of Peter Esprit Radisson, being an Account of his Travels 
and Experiences among the North American Indians, from 1652 to 1684. 
Transcribed from Original Manuscripts in the Bodleian Library and the 
British Museum. With Historical Illustrations and an Introduction, by 
Gideon D. Scull, London, England. (Boston, Mass., 1885. Pages 385.) 

Discussions concerning the historical value and meaning of this volume, 
with extensive quotations from it, form the foregoing paper. 

Radisson's original French manuscripts of the voyages to Hudson Bay 
in 1682-84 have been since published by Douglas Brymner, with his transla- 
tions. See Canadian Archives, Report for 1895. 

Prud'homme, L. A. Notes Historiques sur la Vie de P. E. de Radis- 
son. (St. Boniface, Manitoba, 1892. Pages 62.) 

At the beginning of this pamphlet, the author gives an eloquent sum- 
mary of Radisson's life and character, which, translated by Prof. George 
Bryce, is in part as follows : 

"What a strange existence was that of this man. By turns discoverer, 
officer of marine, organizer and founder of the most commercial company 
which has existed in North America, his life presents an astonishing variety 
of human experiences. 

"He may be seen passing alternately from the wigwams of the miser- 
able savages to the court of the great Colbert ; from managing chiefs of the 
tribes to addressing the most illustrious nobles of Great Britain. 

"His courage was of a high order. He looked death in the face more 
than a hundred times without trepidation. He braved the tortures and the 
stake among the Iroquois, the treacherous stratagems of the savages of the 
West, the rigorous winters of the Hudson Bay, and the tropical heat of the 

"Of an adventurous nature, drawn irresistably to regions unknown, 
carried on by the enthusiasm of his voyages, always ready to push out into 
new dangers, he could have been made by Fenimore Cooper one of the 
heroes of his most exciting romances 

"The celebrated discoverer of the North-West, the illustrious La Vcr- 
endrye, has as much as Radisson, and even more than he. of just reason to 
complain of the ingratitude of France ; yet how different was his conduct ! 

"Just as his persecutions have placed upon the head of the first a new- 
halo of glory, so they have cast upon the brow of the second an inef- 
faceable stain. 

"Souls truly noble do not seek in treason the recompense for the richts 
denied them." 

The two western expeditions of Groseilliera and Radisson are reviewed 
in pages 22-36, the first being referred to the yean [658 60, and the lecond 



to 1661-64, with a trip from lake Superior to Hudson bay, or at least to its 
southern part, called James bay, in 1663. 

Quebec, Archives of the Province of ; see New France, Collection de 

Radisson, Peter Esprit; see Prince Society Publications, and Canad- 
ian Archives. 

Robinson, Doane, South Dakota Historical Collections, vol. ii, Oc- 
tober, 1904, part i, p. 87; part ii ("A History of the Dakota or Sioux In- 
dians," 523 pages,), p. 21. It is thought that Groseilliers and Radisson 
possibly journeyed into South Dakota. 

Robson, Joseph. An Account of Six Years Residence in Hudson's- 
Bay, from 1733 to 1736, and 1744 to 1747 .... to which is added an Ap- 
pendix ; containing, I. A short History of the Discovery of Hudson's-bay, 
etc. (London, 1752. Pages 84, and Appendix of 95 pages.) The efforts of 
"Rattisson and De Groiseleiz" to establish the fur trade on Hudson bay, 
first for merchants in Canada, and afterward for those of Boston and of 
London, are narrated in pages 4 to 11 of the Appendix. Nothing is said 
of their pretended overland journey to Hudson bay from lake Superior. 

Royal Society of Canada;, see Bryce, Dionne, and Suite. 

Scull, Gideon D., Editor; see Prince Society Publications. 

Shea, John Gilmary. History of the Discovery of the Mississippi 
River. (Historical Collections of Louisiana, embracing translations . . . 
Part iv; New York, 1852. Pages lxxx, of introduction, etc., by Shea, and 
268, of translations, etc.) On page xxii, "De Groseilles and another French- 
man" are mentioned as having wintered on lake Superior in 1658, visiting 
the Sioux, and learning, from the fugitive Hurons, of a great river, evi- 
dently the Mississippi. This statement was based on the Jesuit Relation for 
1660, and on the Journal of the Jesuits for the same year. 

Shea, John Gilmary, translator; see Charlevoix. 

South Dakota Historical Society Collections. 
Volume i, 1002; see Kerr. 
Volume ii, 1904; see Robinson, 

Stickney, Gardner P. The Use of Maize by Wisconsin Indians. 
(Parkman Club Publications, No. 13, vol. ii, pp. 63-S7, Milwaukee. Wis., 
March 9, 1897.) Pages 75 and 84-5 give Radisson's testimony of com- 
raising in abundance by the Pottawattamies, and scantily by the Sioux; but 
the very noteworthy cultivation of much corn by the refugee Hurons on 
"the first landing isle," which is identified in the present paper as Prairie 
island, is not mentioned, probably because its situation had not been It- 



Sulte, Benjamin. Histoire des Canadiens-Francais, 1608-1880. (8 
vols., Montreal, 18S2-84.) Vol. ii, p. 144; iv, p. 143; v. , pp. 5-22, 55, 64, 
65, 96-99, '146, 151 ; vii, pp. 10, 12. 

The first western expedition is referred to the years 1654-56, relying on 
the Jesuit Relation of the latter year. Suite affirms that the second west- 
ern expedition started in the autumn of 1659 ; wintered near lake Pepin, 
on the Mississippi, among the Sioux of the Buffalo Prairies ; and returned 
to the St. Lawrence in the summer of 1660. He concludes that Groseilliers 
and Radisson were certainly on the upper Mississippi in the second expe- 
dition, and perhaps also in the first. 

Jeremie is cited in vol. v, pp. 8, 9, 13, 14, as stating that Groseilliers 
probably visited Manitoba and Hudson bay by land and canoe routes from 
lake Superior. 

Sulte, Benjamin. Chronique Trifluvienne [Chronicle of Three Riv- 
ers]. (Montreal, 1879.) Pages 164-5, 188-9, 233. 

Sulte, Benjamin. Le Pays des Grands Lacs, 1603 a 1660. (Pub- 
lished in La Canada- Francais, Quebec, 1889-90.) 

Sulte, Benjamin. Pages d'Histoire de Canada. (Montreal, 1891.) 
Pages 276, 341, 367. 

Sulte, Benjamin. Thirty-three articles in Le Canadicn, St. Paul, 
Minn., Jan. 21 to Sept. 30, 1897, give the conclusions reached by this 
author in his later studies of Groseilliers (whom he commonly calls Chou- 
art) and Radisson, reviewing carefully their two western expeditions and 
their service for the English in the region of Hudson bay. Their first ex- 
pedition to the west is supposed to have been in 1658-60, with a visit to the 
region of Chicago in the spring of 1659. Suite traces their travels after- 
ward as passing north by Green bay to the south side of lake Superior, 
west to Chequamegon bay, southwest to the St. Croix arid Mississippi 
rivers; and thence, by way of the Wisconsin and Fox rivers, returning to 
Green bay. "The first landing isle" he places at the mouth of this bay. 
No credence is given to the alleged journey south to the Gulf of Mexico. 

August, 1661, and August, 1662, are noted a»s the dates of beginning 
and end of the second expedition, the account of a summer spent on Hud- 
son bay being rejected. Groseilliers and Radisson are stated to have trav- 
eled then, for a second time, along the south shore of lake Superior to 
Chequamegon; and thence to the Nation of the Buffalo (the Sioux) in the 
neighborhood of the present city of St. Paul, but without detailed discussion 
of the route thither. According to Suite, the great feast With the Sioux 
was somewhere near the site of St. Paul. The liter travel north of lake 
Superior, in the country of the Crees. is thought to have extended to Pig- 
eon river, but not farther, toward either Manitoba or Hudson bay. 

Sulte, Benjamin. A series of many articles by Mr. Suite in Echo t> 
I'Oucst, Minneapolis, Minn., beginning April 11, (003, treats of the early 



French explorations of this region. Groseilliers and Radisson aie consid- 
ered in the issues of July n to August 15, but much less fully than in Le 
Canadien, 1897. Their second western expedition is here assigned to 1662- 

Sulte, Benjamin*. A summary of studies and conclusions on this 
subject, chiefly condensed from the two preceding series of articles, is 
contributed to Hon. J. V. Browers Volume VI of "Memoirs of Explora- 
tions in the Basin of the Mississippi," 1903, pp. 74-84. See Brower. 

Sulte, Benjamin. Decouverte du Mississippi en 1659; read May 20, 
1903. (Memoirs of the Royal Society of Canada, vol. ix, section i, 1903, 
PP. 3-44-) 

In this latest statement of his prolonged studies of the explorations of 
Groseilliers and Radisson in the far west, Suite writes of their first west- 
ern expedition, thought to have been from 1658 to 1660. Groseilliers is said 
to have staid with the Mascoutins on the upper Fox river during the sum- 
mer of 1659, while Radisson descended the Wisconsin river to the Missis- 
sippi, and thence went up the Mississippi past lake Pepin to Isle Pelee, re- 
turning to the Fox river after canoeing four months with the Indians. Next 
the two Frenchmen are thought to have voyaged in the autumn of 1659 to 
the Sault Ste. Marie, and west to Chequamegon bay, and to have visited 
the Sioux in the winter of 1659-60. 

Their travel along the south shore of lake Superior and visit with the 
Sioux are thought to have been repeated again in their second expedition. 

Tailhan, Rev. J., Editor; see Perrot. 

Tanguay, L/Abbe Cyprien. Dictionnaire Genealogique des Families 
Canadiennes, depuis la Fondation de la Colonie jusqu'a nos Jours. (Mon- 
treal, 1871-1890. Seven volumes.) Records of the birth, marriages, and 
children, of "Chouart, Medard, Sieur des Groseilliers," are given in volume 
i, page 129; and "Radisson, (De) Pierre-Esprit," is mentioned on page 
507, as marrying a daughter of "chevalier Kertk." 

Thwaites, Reuben Gold. Radisson and Groseilliers in Wisconsin. 
(Wisconsin Historical Society Collections, vol. xi, 1888, pp. 64-06.; This 
paper consists of extracts from the Prince Society's volume of Radisson's 
Voyages, with editorial notes. The expeditions to Wisconsin and Minne- 
sota are considered to have taken place in 1658-60 and 1661-2. Radisson in 
his four months of hunting with the Indians, referred to the year 1659, is 
believed to have discovered the Mississippi. 

Thwaites, Reuben Gold. The Story of Wisconsin. (Boston. 1891. 
Pages 3S9.) Groseilliers and Radisson are the theme of pages 37-46 and 
370, the same views being stated as in the foregoing and following papers. 

Thwaites, Reuben Gold. The Story of Chequamegon Bay. ( Wis- 
consin Historical Society Collections, vol. xiii, 1895, pp. 397-4J5. with a 

The first western expedition of Groseilliers and Radisson, referred to 



the years 1658-60, is thought to have reached to the Mississippi river. Their 
second trip west, skirting the south shore of lake Superior to Chequamegon 
bay, is ascribed to the autumn of 1661, with extension to the lakes of Man- 
itoba in 1662, followed later in the same year by their return to the Lower 
St. Lawrence. 

Thwaites, Reuben Gold, Editor; see Jesuit Relations and Allied Doc- 
uments, Edition of 1896-1901 ( 73 volumes). The notes of this work con- 
fidently assign the western expeditions narrated by Radisson to 1654-56 and 

Thwaites, Reuben Gold. Father Marquette. (New York, 1902. 
Pages 244.) These French traders are noticed in pages 69, 70, 100, 131, 
and 139.' The first western expedition is referred to the years 1654-56, with 
possible discovery of the Mississippi river in 1655; and the second or lake 
Superior expedition in 1659-60 is said to have extended "as far into the 
northwest as Lake Assiniboine." 

Turner, Frederick J. The Character and Influence of the Fur Trade 
in Wisconsin. (Proceedings of the Thirty-sixth Annual Meeting of the 
State Historical Society of Wisconsin, 1889, pp. 52-98.) Groseilliers and 
Radisson are noticed in pages 63-5, the return from their first western voy- 
age or expedition being referred to the year 1660. The author cites the opin- 
ion of Thwaites, "that in this voyage they, first of all French explorers, 
reached the Mississippi." 

Upham, Warren. My identification of Radisson's "first landing isle'* 
as Prairie island was studied out in 1807-8. but was first publicly stated in 
an address on "Explorers and Maps of Minnesota,'' at the graduation of 
the Mechanic Arts High School, St. Paul, June 13, 1899. 

The principal parts of the foregoing paper were presented in three 
addresses before the Minnesota Historical Society, as follows: "The First 
White Men in Minnesota, Groseilliers and Radisson in 1655 at Prairie Is- 
land," in the Annual Meeting of the Society, Jan. 13, T902 : "The Second 
Expedition of Groseilliers and Radisson to Minnesota, 1659-60." March 10, 
1902; and "Progress of Discovery of the Mississippi River, 1498-1700." Oct. 
13, 1902. Extended abstracts of the first and second of these addresses 
were published, respectively, by the St. Paul Globe and the Minneapolis 
Times, Jan. 14, and by the Globe, March II, and the Times, March 13; and 
the first part of the third address was published in the American Gt 
August, IC02 (vol. xxx. pp. 103-111), under the title, "Growth of the 
Mississippi Delta." 

UpBAMj Warren. Discovery of Minnesota and of the Up[vr Missis- 
sippi. (Contributed to Volume VI of Hon. J. V. P.row.r*- Memoirs, this 
volume, published in 1003, being entitled Minnesota.) 

This article, in pages 86-104, reviews the first wostcm expedition of 
Groseilliers and Radisson, and credits them with a Stay at Prairie inland 
during more than a year, from May, 1655, to June, IO.SO- It presents near- 


ly all that part of the foregoing paper which refers to this expedition, and 
also the discussion of the migrations of the refugee Hurons, including the 
translation of Perrot's account of their spending a few years on Isle Pelee 
(Prairie island). See Brozver. 

Verwyst, Rev. Chrysostom. Missionary Labors of Fathers Marquette, 
Menard and Allouez, in the Lake Superior Region. (Milwaukee, 1886. 
Pages 262.) 

Much of this volume is compiled by translation from the Jesuit Rela- 
tions and from Perrot's Memoir. It treats of many topics that are closely 
related to the expeditions of Groseilliers and Radisson, as the missions to 
the Hurons, Ottawas, Ojibways, Illinois, and other Indians, and the char- 
acteristics and customs of the various Indian tribes, west to the Sioux, and 
north to the Crees. 

Pages 171-3, entitled "Groseilliers and Radisson, the Pioneers of the 
Northwest," refer to their second expedition, coming to Chequamegon bay. 
They are regarded by Verwyst as identical with the two early French trad- 
ers concerning whom he quotes from William W. Warren (Minnesota 
Historical Society Collections, vol. v, 1885, pp. 121-2) an Ojibway tradition 
of their being found starving on the island of La Pointe, 

Verwyst, Rev. Chrysostom. Historic Sites on Chequamegon Bay. 
(Wisconsin Historical Society Collections, vol. xiii, 1895, pp. 426-440.) 

"The first white men on the shores of Chequamegon Bay were in all 
probability Groseilliers and Radisson"' (p. 433). They are here considered 
to be not the same with the two starving traders in the tradition related by 

Verwyst, Rev. Chrysostom, states, as noted by Campbell in his paper 
entitled "P£re Rene Menard" (1897), that an Indian trail extended from 
Chequamegon bay to Lac Courte Oreille. This trail is regarded confidently 
as the route taken by these Frenchmen and their Huron escort, and the site 
of the Huron village is thought to have been at this lake. See Campbell 
and McCormick. 

Willson, Beckles. The Great Company: being a History of the Hon- 
ourable Company of Merchants-Adventurers trading into Hudson's Bay. 
(Toronto, 1899.) Pages 23-34, 42-51, and 69-124; including chapters ii, iv, 
and vii-x. 

The volume published by the Prince Society seems to have been ne- 
glected by this author, who gives only a scanty and quite unsatisfactory ac- 
count of the western expeditions of Groseilliers and Radisson. Their first 
expedition here mentioned is the second to the west, as narrated by Radis- 
son, to lake Superior and to the Tobacco Hurons farther southwest; and it 
is regarded as occupying about one year, in 1659-60. Groseilliers is laid 
to have made two other expeditions west within the next throe years, not 
accompanied by Radisson. There is no reference to an overland j< urncv 
by them to Hudson bay. They are Itttcd to have been ProtesttlttS, Rid - 
son from youth, being of a Huguenot family, and Groseilliers after his mar- 
riage with Radisson'fl sister. [See page 519 of this paper. J 



Nearly all of this narration relates to the period of their service with 
the English in the endeavors to build up the Hudson Bay fur trade. It is 
largely derived, as the author states, from a pamphlet entitled "French Vil- 
lainy in Hudson's Bay." 

An etched portrait of Radisson (since published also by Brower) is 
given on page 25, "after an old print;" and on page 124 he is said to have 
died at Islington, a suburb of London, in 1702. See Brozver and Bryce. 

Willson, Beckles. Early Days at York Factory. (Canadian Maga- 
zine, Toronto, vol. xiii, pp. 3-9, May, 1899.) 

Pierre Radisson, Bushranger. (Canadian Magazine, vol. xiii, pp. 117- 
126, June, 1899.) 

These articles preceded the publication of "The Great Company." The 
first relates to Groseilliers and Radisson at Hudson bay in 1683. It has no 
illustrations, and says nothing of the land expeditions to the upper Great 
Lakes and the Mississippi. 

The second article has a larger portrait of Radisson, said here to be 
"re-drawn from a rare old Paris print," with seven other illustrations. It 
relates wholly to the affairs of Radisson at Hudson bay, and in France and 
England, during the years 1683-1702. 

Winchell, Newton H. The Geological and Natural History" Survey 
of Minnesota, Volume I of the Final Report. (Minneapolis, 1884.) Chap- 
ter I, no pages, is a "Historical Sketch of Explorations and Surveys in 
Minnesota." On page 3, Groseilliers and Radisson are stated to have spent 
the winter of 1659-60 with the Sioux in the region of Mille Lacs. 

Winsor, Justin. Narrative and Critical History of America. (8 vol- 
umes; Boston, 1884-89.) Chapter v, pages 163-197, in vol. iv, 1884, by Rev. 
Edward D. Neill, treats of Groseilliers and Radisson in pages 168-172 and 
197- See Neill. 

Winsor, Justin. Cartier to Frontenac : Geographical Discovery in the 
Interior of North America in its Historical Relations, 1534-1700. (Boston, 
1895. Pages 379.) Groseilliers and Radisson are noticed in pages 182-7, 
I 95-8, 253. and 301. They are supposed to have made three expeditions te> 
the region of lake Superior, in 165S-9, 1659-60, and 1660-63, in the second 
perhaps reaching the Mississippi river. 

Wisconsin Historical Society Collections. 
Volume x, 1888; see Neill 

Volume xi, 1888, in pages 64-96. under the title, "Radisson and Groseil- 
liers in Wisconsin," reprints large parts of the Third and Fourth Voyt 
of Radisson, from the publication of the Prince Society. Many useful 
foot-notes are supplied by Reuben G. Thwaites, the secretary and editor. 

Volume xii, 1892; sec Davidson. 

Volume xiii, 1805; see ThwaitU and Vcrwyst. 

Volume xvi, 1902, 514 pages, consists of translations from contemporary 



French documents of the earlier and greater part (1634-1727) of "The 
French Regime in Wisconsin.'' It includes extracts from Perrot's Memoir 
(pp. 10-21), which have an important bearing on the narratives of Radis- 
son; but his own writings, having been previously quoted at length in Vol- 
ume xi, are omitted from this compilation. See Perrot. 

Wisconsin Historical Society, Proceedings, for 1889, see Turner; for 
1895, see Campbell. 


In view of the very diverse opinions expressed by the many 
writers cited in the foregoing Bibliography, concerning the 
routes and dates of the western expeditions of Groseilliers and 
Radisson, it would certainly be unreasonable for the present writ- 
er to expect his studies and conclusions, stated in this paper, to 
be accepted without challenge and adverse discussions. It will 
yet require probably many years for historians to reach a gen- 
eral agreement as to the interpretation of Radisson's uncouth but 
exceedingly interesting narratives of these earliest expeditions 
to the upper Mississippi river (if indeed he came there, which 
some deny) and to the area which is now Minnesota. 

Careful studies of this subject during seven years have led 
me to believe, with full confidence, that the arguments and re- 
sults here presented are true, and that they will ultimately be 
so received by all students of our Northwestern history. 



With a Biographic Sketch of the Author by 
Samuel J. Brown. 

This Narrative is supplied through the kindness of Mr. Sam- 
uel J. Brown, son of Major Joseph R. Brown. The circumstances 
of his receiving the original Sioux manuscript, and of its trans- 
lation, are told by Mr. Brown as follows : 

This is to certify that I was well acquainted with Gabriel Renville, and 
know his handwriting, and also know that he was unable to'speak or write 
the English language; that said Renville died at my house in Brown's Val- 
ley, Minn., August 26, 1892, aged about sixty-eight years ; that sometime 
before the death of the said Renville his son, Rev. Victor Renville of Sisie- 
ton Agency, South Dakota, stated to me that he had in his possession an old 
manuscript written by his father concerning the Sioux outbreak of 1S62; 
and that, upon my request, the said Victor Renville delivered to me the said 
manuscript, which appeared quite old, the first two or three pages being 

I further certify that Gabriel Renville, herein referred to, is the Ga- 
briel Renville who was prominent in the councils of the Sisseton and Wah- 
peton Indians prior to and during the outbreak of 1862. who was appoint- 
ed Chief of Scouts by General Sibley, and subsequently, at the suggestion 
of the Department of the Interior, was made Head Chief of said bands and 
remained such chief until his death. 

I further certify that I examined the manuscript given to me by Victor 
Renville, and recognized it as being in the Sioux language and in the hand- 
writing of said Gabriel Renville; that said Victor Renville stated to me that 
the manuscript was written by his father, Gabriel Renville, and WU given 
to him about the time of his father's death; that I went to work upon said 

•Road at the monthly meeting of the F.xecuttvo Council, Pee. 14, 1MB, DJ Mr. R 1. 
Holcouihe, who hus udtled yevoral tOOt-HOttM. 


manuscript, which was in the Sioux language, and, in connection with 
Thomas A. Robertson of Veblin, South Dakota, an educated mixed-blood, 
made, in March last, a complete and accurate translation of the same ; that 
the paper to which this certificate is attached is the original Sioux manu- 
script prepared by said Gabriel Renville; and that the copy with corrections, 
also hereto attached, is a true and correct translation of said manuscript 
into English. Samuel J. Brown. 

Note. — As a few pages at the beginning of Gabriel Renville's manu- 
script had been lost, it may be stated that he relates first what he saw at 
the Yellow Medicine Agency, also known as the Upper Agency, near the 
junction of the Yellow Medicine river with the Minnesota river, about 
thirty miles above the Redwood or Lower Agency, and nearly fifty miles 
above Fort Ridgcly. The time was Tuesday, August 19th, the next day 
after the outbreak and massacre at the Lower Agency. Renville appears to 
be on the way from his farm, north of the Minnesota river, when he met a 
party of the Sioux, from whom he learned of the general outbreak, and 
of the attack against the Upper Agency during the preceding night. 


. . . It was some of these who came that night and drove 
away the storekeepers and plundered. They also reported that all 
the whites at the Agency had made a stand in the Agency build- 
ings. They who reported this were of those who were not ene- 
mies to the whites. 

I then went on as fast as I could towards the Agency, and 
stopped suddenly in front of the west door of the warehouse 
building. I did not see a single person, but heard very much of 
thumping noises. I then went around to the east door, and there 
saw that they had gone in that way and were plundering inside. 

There was a house about four hundred yards south of the 
Agency buildings, from which I saw a woman come crying. I went 
towards her, and when I reached her I found it was my mother. 
She was very much frightened. When she saw that it was I, she 
was overcome and fell to the ground, and though she tried to get 
up she would fall to the ground again. I got down and took hold 
of her, assisting her to rise, and said, "Don't cry, but stand up. 
A great calamity has come to us, and we may all die. Stop cry- 
ing, and try to control yourself." 

I asked her what had become of the white people who be- 
longed at the Agency. She said that that night, near daylight, 


John Other Day had started with them all towards the east, and 
that among them was one white man who had been shot but was 
still alive and was taken along. [This was Stewart B. Garvie.] 
Then she said, "Your brother has gone to your sister's. It has 
now been a long time since he went, but he has not come back. 
I expect they are all dead." She meant my sister who lived with 
her children about eight miles south of the Agency. Then I said 
to her, "Mother, go back into the house and stay quiet there, and 
I will go home and come here again." I then mounted my horse, 
and rode as fast as I could towards my home. 

About three miles north of the Agency there lived a white 
man who was a minister [Rev. Thomas S. Williamson]. He was 
the first man who came among the Wahpetons to teach them, 
and was called the Doctor. He came out and met me, and asked 
what was being done and what the news was. I told him, "My 
friend, a great commotion has come. All the people at the Red- 
wood Agency, and all the farmers across the river from that 
Agency, are reported to have been killed. But the people of the 
Yellow Medicine Agency, and the traders at that place, have all 
fled under the guidance of John Other Day last night. Every- 
thing in the stores has been taken, and those buildings have been 
burned. The Agency buildings have been plundered and every- 
thing taken, but they are not burned. These things are true. 
Therefore, my friend, flee." He replied, "I have been a long 
time with the Dakotas, and I don't think they will kill me. My 
children have all gone, and I am alone with my wife." Then I 
said to him, "It is reported that even the mixed-bloods who are 
Dakotas have been killed, and the only thing for you to do is to 
flee." I then went into the house and shook hands with the 
woman, and again urged them to escape. Their fright was very 
great, as could be told by their paleness of countenance; and the 
wild look in the eyes of all whom I met, being the same in the 
faces and eyes of these people, moved by heart. 

I came out of the house, rode swiftly away, and, fording the 
river, reached my home. I found the horses already hitched to 
the wagon, and we started in a hurry, going toward a Cord which 
was a good crossing for wagons. I saw at that time the Doctor's 
children and others with them, who were crossing the river and 
fleeing towards the east under the guidance of an Indian who 
was friendly to the whites. 


We crossed the river and went towards the Agency, and 
when we had gone about four miles some of the people I met 
were drunk. Two men took my horses by the bits, and accused 
me of fleeing towards the whites, and said that whoever did that 
was now an enemy. I told them I was not going there, but they 
did not believe me, and they used me roughly. I saw they were 
drunk, because one of them had a bottle tied to his arm. Lthen 
jumped to the ground, tore their hands loose from me. and took 
the bottle away from the man who had it. Pulling out the cork, 
I took a mouthful and swallowed some of it, but it burned my 
mouth and throat, so that I did not swallow all of it. I poured it 
out, and threw the bottle away and then went on. The reason 
why it burned my mouth was that it was white liquor and had 
not been mixed with water. 

In a cellar under one of the buildings at the Agency was a 
forty gallon barrel of alcohol for the use of the Agency physician, 
which had been found by them and created very much of a com- 
motion among the people who were then about the Agency. 
Every person had his gun, and those who were drunk were pre- 
paring to shoot at one another; but those that were not drunk 
held them, and that was how it came that no one was killed. 

I saw this and went on to my mother's house, and found 
that my brother who had gone to where my sister and her chil- 
dren were living had come back. He reported that they had 
fled, but that some of the hostile Indians came, and that he 
thought they must have all been killed. These hostiles had their 
minds made up to kill him, but there was one who took his part 
and saved his life. Runners were continually arriving from the 
hostile Indians. 

It was next reported that a detachment of soldiers that had 
been sent out from Fort Ridgely had been all killed.* About 
five o'clock in the evening it was reported that Major Brown's 
wife, children, and son-in-law, had all been taken prisoners. Ma- 
jor Brown's wife was our sister. 

Thirteen of us decided to go into the Agency buildings and 
make a stand there, because they were strong, brick buildings. 
In the Agent's house were Mazo-ma-ne (Walking in Irons), 
Hin-tah-chan (Basswood), Shu-pay-he-yu (Intestines came out), 

•Reference is made to the atTair at Redwood ferry, August 18. 1862. 


and Pay-tah-koyag-enah-pay (Appeared clothed in Fire). In 
the doctor's house were Ah-kee-pah (Coming together), Charles 
Crawford, Thomas Crawford, and Han-yo-ke-yah (Flies in the 
Night). In the school building were myself (Gabriel Renville), 
Two Stars, and E-nee-hah (Excited). In the farmer's building 
were Koda (Friend), and Ru-pah-hu (Wing). It was the next 
morning that we did this. Then Charles Crawford and Ah-kee- 
pah went to get Major Brown's wife and children, and got them 
and brought them back. 

News was coming in every day, that Fort Ridgely was be- 
ing attacked, that white settlers to the east and south were being 
massacred, and that New Ulm was attacked. It was also reported 
that a party of hostile Indians, many young men, had gone north 
on a war party, there being white people there and also a fort 
toward which they went.* 

After these many things had come to pass, the hostile Indians, 
•with their families, moved up towards the Yellow Medicine Agen- 
cy, and had now arrived. Then Tah-o-yah-tay-doo-tah, or Lit- 
tle Crow, the chosen chief of the hostile Indians, came to where 
we were, and told us to get out of the houses that we were in. 
He said, "These houses are large and strong, and must be burned. 
If they are not burned, the soldiers will come and get into them, 
Therefore get out, and if you do not you will be burned with 
the buildings." So we got our horses and hitched them to our 
wagons, into which we put our belongings, and started north. 


When we had gone about a mile and a half, we came to 
where the hostile Indians had formed a camp. As we were pass- 
ing through the camp, I saw many white prisoners, old women, 
young women, boys and girls, bareheaded and barefooted, and it 
made my heart hot, and so I said to Ah-kee-pah, Two Stars, and 
E-nee-hah, "If these prisoners were only men, instead of women 
and children, it would be all right, but it is hard that this terrible 
suffering should be brought upon women and children, and they 
have killed many of even such as these." I therefore had in mind 
to call a council, invite the hostile Indians, and appoint Mazo-ma- 

•Fort Abcrcrombie, on the Red River of the North, ahout twelve miles north of 


ne and Marpiya-wicasta (Cloud Man) to say to the hostiles 
that it was our wish that the prisoners should be sent home. Ah- 
kee-pah, Two Stars, and E-nee-hah, agreed with me in my idea, 
and they told me to go on and do so. 

We had by this time got about five miles from the Agency, 
at the home of Mr. Riggs. These houses were not yet burned 
and were occupied by some of the friendly Indians. John B. 
Renville was with them, and we made our camp near them." 

I told Mazo-ma-ne and Cloud Man what I wanted of them, 
and they said they would do as I wished. I then went to the 
people that were in the Hazehvood Mission house, and told them 
what I was planning to do, and they also told me to go ahead 
and do it, and J. B. Renville gave me a calf to kill to feed the 
people that were to be called to that council. This was in the 
evening. The next morning early I killed a cow which I had 
tied up, and picked out two men, Tah-ta-wah-kan-hdi and Hin- 
ta-chan, to do the cooking. 

When all was ready, but before the invitation was sent to 
the hostile camp, a large body of horsemen came towards us from 
that camp, two hundred or more. They all had their guns, their 
faces were painted, and they were gaily dressed. Thev came and 
stopped at our camp. Then I said to them, "We were about to 
send for you to come here to a council. But as you are here, 
whatever your purpose may be in coming, for the present get oft 
your horses and have something to eat." They then got down, 
and after they had eaten they mounted again, and, forming 
around our camp, said, "We have come for you, and if vou do not 
come, the next time we will come to attack you ;" and firing their 
guns into the air they departed. 

By this time Cloud Man, Mazo-ma-ne, and all those of our 
people who were about there came, and were much angered and 
said, "The Medawakantons have many white prisoners. Can it 
be possible that it is their object to make the Wahpetons and Sis- 
setons their captives too? Call together those who are Wahpc- 
tons and Sissctons, and we will prepare to defend ourselves." 

I at once sent out the two young men whom I had helping, 
and they on horseback went about and gathered our people to- 
gether. When about three hundred had arrived, we painted OIK 
faces and got our guns, and, mounting our horses and lin 
went towards their camp. When we arrived near the hostile 


camp, we kept firing our guns into the air until we got within the 
circle of their encampment, and then rode around inside and 
came out again where we went in. 

It was decided at that time that we would get all our people 
together and in the future act on the defense. With this under- 
standing, all started to bring in their families for the purpose of 
forming one general camp of those friendly to the whites and 
apart from those who were hostile. We formed our camp in a 
circle west of Mr. Riggs' Hazelwood Mission buildings, and a 
large tent was put up in the center of the camp. 

A soldiers' lodge was organized, and four men, myself, 
Joseph La Framboise, Marpiya-hdi-na-pe, and Wakpa-ee-yu-way- 
ga, were chosen as the chief officers or directors of this soldiers' 
lodge, to act for the best interests of the Sisseton and Wahpeton 
peace party. 

After these four had been duly installed and authority given 
them, the first question discussed was the release of the prison- 
ers, both whites and mixed-bloods ; and it was decided that the 
effort should be made to have these prisoners returned to the 
whites, excepting that the men who were able to fight might be 
retained.' The reason for this decision of the directors of the 
soldiers' lodge was that the hostile Indians would claim that if 
the men were released they would turn right around and 
fight them. Little Paul (Maza-ku-ta-ma-ne) was chosen as 
spokesman to present this to the hostile Indians. 

Then the Medawakantons, the very enemies of the white 
people, called a big- council, and invited us to it.* So we pre- 
pared ourselves by arming ourselves and painting our faces, and 
went over to their camp. It was decided, before we started, that 
now was the time for Little Paul to present the case for the re- 
lease of the prisoners. When we arrived at the council, the Me- 
dawakantons made many speeches, in which they urged strongly 
the prosecution of the war against the whites to the fullest ex- 
ten:. Then Little Paul arose and made a speech, in which he 
said all he was instructed to say in regard to the release of the 

The spokesman of the Medawakantons was Wa-ki-van-to- 
eche-ye (Thunder that paints itself blue), who arose and said 

•For a report of this council, Little Paul's speech, etc.. see Heard's History ol t!ie 
Sioux War, pp. 151-153. 



that the captives should not be released, that the hostile Indians 
had brought trouble and suffering upon themselves, and that 
the captives would have to stay with them and participate in their 
troubles and deprivations. Many others spoke on their side. It 
was a big meeting, nearly a thousand people being present, and 
there was much excitement up to the time of the breaking up of 
the council. 


It was now reported that many soldiers had got together at 
Fort Ridgely, and Little Crow with about four hundred men 
started for the Redwood Agency. About this time a detachment 
of soldiers had been to the Redwood Agency, and on their return 
camped at Birch Coulie. They were attacked that night by this 
party and were fighting until daylight. During that fight a 
mixed-blood ran out of the soldiers' camp, but was killed as soon 
as he got among the Indians.* After that a large party of sold- 
iers came from Fort Ridgely, which stopped the fighting, as we 
were told. 

Some who had been at that battle said that they thought they 
recognized Major Brown's voice, and it caused me to think much, 
for we had His wife and children with us. I then went to our 
soldiers' lodge, and, taking my place there, said that as it had 
been reported that many had been killed at the battle of Birch 
Coulie, we ought to send a party to investigate and find out, if 
possible, about how many were killed. My reason for this was 
that I wanted to come to some conclusion as to whether Major 
Brown was dead or alive. We then discussed the question, and 
it was decided that some one ought to be sent down there, and I 
suggested Charles Crawford. Others said that there ought to be 
two, so Wa-su-ho-was-tay was named, and these two were se- 
lected and sent to investigate the battle ground of Birch Coulie. 
When the Medawakantons heard of this, they also sent two of 
their men. 

Our men came back the next day. They reported that they 
had been to the battle ground, and there were more than ten 
graves, but that they could tell nothing about how many were 
buried in each grave. 

•Peter Bourier, of Capt. Anderson's company. who was on picket duty wheu killed. A 
report that ho was deserting to tuc Indiana ffU never verified. 


Charles Crawford said that he had found a paper on the 
battle ground, but that those who were with him did not know 
that he Had found it, and then he gave me the paper. This paper, 
he said, ha'd been put into a cigar box and tied to a small pole or 
stake and stuck up on the battle ground. General Sibley's name 
was signed to this paper, so I knew that he had written it. I 
took it to our council lodge, and had it carefully read. 

In this paper General Sibley wanted to know why it was 
that the Indians had become hostile to the whites, and that if any 
of them wished to see him they could do so, but must go in the 
road in plain sight, and that they would not be harmed and 
could return again. On getting this news, the minds of our 
people were still more drawn towards the whites. 


Then we had a consultation in regard to the mixed-bloods, 
who, tHough they were white, were children of the Indians. It 
was thought to be wrong that their property should be taken 
from them, and that therefore their horses and wagons should 
be returned to them. After we had discussed the matter, it was 
decided to demand the property, and Little Paul was chosen as 
spokesman to present the matter to the hostile Indians. 

We again painted our faces, took our guns, and went to the 
Medawakanton camp ; and when we arrived at their soldiers* 
lodge, Little Paul said what he was told to say.* Then the pub- 
lic crier of the Medawakantons arose and said, "The mixed-bloods 
ought not to be alive, they should have been killed. But now 
you say their property should be returned to them. We will never 
do so." 

Little Crow spoke next, and said that he was the leader of 
those who had made war on the whites ; that as long as he was 
alive no white man should touch him; that if he ever should be 
taken alive, he would be made a show of before the whites ; and 
that, if he was ever touched by a white man, it would be after 
he was dead. 

So the hostile Indians would not consent to have the property 
of the mixed-bloods returned; but Joseph Campbell's wagon, 

•For Little Paul's speech on this occa^ou. see Heani's History, pp. 136* 151. The speech 

wet reported by Rev. John B. Renville auii ins wife, the latter a white wo 01 en and * 


Mrs. J. R. Brown's wagon and horse, and Mrs. Andrew Robert- 
son's wagon, were taken by us and returned to them. As wc 
could see by this time that if any more of this property was taken 
by us and returned to the owners it would cause a fight between 
us and the hostile Indians, we stopped and went back to our 

After these things had happened, about three hundred horse- 
men came from the Medawakanton camp with their guns, sing- 
ing and shouting their war cry. They came around on the outside 
of our circular camp, and, stopping in front of our entrance way, 
shot at the tops of our tepees, and shouting their war cry de- 

In the face of all this opposition of the hostile Indians, we 
were still determined to keep on the course we had laid out for 
ourselves, and again getting together decided that some person 
or persons should be sent to General Sibley's headquarters at 
Fort Ridgely. When the Medawakantons heard of this, they 
made the threat that anyone who was sent to Fort Ridgely would 
be killed. There was much discussion over the matter, but finally, 
when Little Crow said he was in favor of some one being sent, 
the two Toms [Thomas Robinson and Thomas A. Robertson] 
were designated as the ones to go, and they went. 

We then got together again in our council lodge and decided 
to- move our camp, having in mind to do everything in our power 
to discourage the hostile Indians. We hoped that finally they 
would see that we were so determined in our purpose that it 
would be wise for them to consent to our proposition in regard 
to the prisoners, and we therefore moved our camp. 

About this time the two who had gone to Fort Ridgely for 
news returned. They had seen General Sibley, who had told 
them that he was not the enemy of those who were friendly to 
the whites, but was most assuredly the enemy of those who were 
the enemies of the whites ; that he must have the captives returned 
first; and then he would meet the hostile Indians as men. 

We then moved our camp, and the hostiles also moved their?. 
They went north till they came to Red Iron's village, where they 
were halted, and. a great commotion occurring, a scattered camp 
was made. Some shots were fired, but no one was killed. The 
result of this move at Red Iron's was that the hostile Indians went 
no farther at that time. 


When all had moved away from Yellow Medicine, Simon 
Anawag-ma-ne took a captive woman* and her child who could 
talk English, and, hiding with them, fled towards the whites. 
Lorenzo Lawrence also about that time took his own family and 
a white woman! and hid in the river bottom. Finding a canoe, 
he put them into it and started down the river in the night. On 
his way he came across a mixed-blood woman, who, with her 
children, was hiding, and taking them along he arrived safely 
with them at Fort Ridgely. 

The making of the scattered camp, caused by the halting 
and commotion at Red Iron's village, had the effect of breaking 
up the hostile soldiers' lodge, and to some extent the influence 
that it had exercised over their own people. Therefore when it 
was proposed that messengers should again be sent to General 
Sibley, a few of the Medawakantons felt inclined towards the 
whites, and, secretly getting Thomas A. Robertson to write a 
letter for them, sent it by him to General Sibley. This letter 
was signed by Taopi, Good Thunder, and Wabashaw. There 
were other letters written to General Sibley, but all unknown to 
the hostile Indians. 

.The friendly Indians were by this time becoming much 
stronger, and getting together formed a camp west of the mouth 
of the Chippewa river. Then Taopi, Good Thunder, Wah-ke- 
yan-tah-wah, and a few others, came into the friendly camp. 

* A German -woman, named Mrs. Neumann. Simon conveyed her and her three 
children in his one-horse wagon, he walking all the way. 

t The white woman was Mrs. Jeannette E. De Camp, wife of J. W. De Camp, 
and she had three children. Her husband was killed at Birch Coulie. The mixed 
blood woman was the wife of Magloire Robideaux. a half-blood, who at the time 
was a member of the Renville Rangers, and who subsequently was a soldi-.-r 
of the Fifth Minnesota Regiment. Thus Lawrence released from captivity and 
lestored to their friends no less than ten persons. 

At about the same time two other mixed-blood families, who had boon held 
as prisoners, made their escape. These were the wile and three children of 
William L. Quinn and the widow and daughter of Philander Prescott Mr. 
was in charge of Forbes' store at the Upper Agency, but on the day of the out- 
break was at Shakopec, on his return from a visit to St Paul. When his (amity 
escaped, he was serving as a scout with General Sibley's army. Philander Pres- 
cott had "been in Minnesota, chiefly connected with and anion? the Indiana, for 
nearly forty years. He was resting at the Lower Agency on the morning of the 
outbreak, and when the murdering began sought to escape, but was Intercepted 
and killed, and his gray head was cut off and stuck on a pole, 

Mrs. Quinn had their children, named Kllen. William, and Thomas, and also 
her mother, Mrs. Elizabeth Jeffries, another mixed-blood woman, who instated 
In the work of escape, and Mrs. Prescott had her daughter. Julia. The two 
families, who had been held as prisoners Slipped away from the Indian camp 
while the warriors were out at. the battle ol Wood Lake. They, too, e.wne down 
the Minnesota In canoes, proceeding slowly and curct'ully for several days, living 
on potatoes dug from the abandoned gardens Of the tattlers At last they reached 
Fort Ridgely and were cared tor by the garrison. Mr. and .Mrs. Quinn and William 
L. Qulun, Jr., now reside in St. Paul. 


At this time the messengers that had been sent to Fort 
Ridgely the second time returned and reported that General Sib- 
ley was preparing to advance, and that the troops were crossing 
over to the west side of the Minnesota river. 

At this camp it was reported to us that the so-called Meda- 
wakanton soldiers were coming to attack us, and we determined 
to defend ourselves. We soon saw them coming and got our 
guns, and then getting behind our tents selected about twenty of 
our men, among them being Mazo-ma-ne, Two Stars, Basswood, 
Wa-su-ho-was-tay, Wa-ki-ya-hde, and A-chay-tu-ke-yah, with 
Mazo-ma-ne as spokesman, to go and meet them and tell them 
that they must, come no farther, but go back, and that, if they 
persisted in coming on, we would fire on them. 

So these men went to meet the Medawakantons, and forming 
in line waited for them to come. When they got near, Mazo-ma- 
ne commanded them to halt, and said to them, "If you come any 
nearer we will shoot. Why are you treating us in this way? You 
have brought about the destruction of everything we had to live 
on. Do you also want to make captives of us ? No, you can never 
make us your captives. Go back." So they went back, without 
coming any farther.* 

The horses had eaten all the grass down to the ground, so 
we moved our camp about a half mile to the east. There again 
the Medawakanton soldiers came, and having taken us unawares 
pushed over some of our tents, but on being ordered to stop they 
quit and went back to their camp. 


They later moved their camp about a half mile to the west- 
ward. It was at that time that the hostile Indians decided that 
they were ready to go and meet General Sibley's command, or- 
dering everybody to go, and making the threat that those who 
did not go would be punished by their soldiers' lodges, and that 
now was the time to wipe out General Sibley's command, which 
they said they intended to do. This was the reason that some of 
the friendly Indians were told to go down there to see it the sol- 

•Mazo-ma-ne was mortally wounded at the battle of Wood Lake, while carrying a I 
nag as directed by General Sibley. See "Monuments and Tablets." p. 73. 



diers would all be killed, and the others to stay and take care 
of the camp. 

The start was now made to meet the troops. Sibley had gone 
into camp about one and a half miles south of the Yellow Medi- 
cine river, and the Indians were camped on that river. A con- 
sultation was then had as .to how it was best to attack Sibley's 
command, the council being held in the evening. Little Crow's 
plan was to quietly advance under cover of the darkness until 
the guards fired, and then rush in, and, as soon as the troops rose 
up, to halt, fire one volley, charge forward, and massacre them. 

Then I spoke and said, "It is not true, what you have said 
about there being only a few of the soldiers. There are many 
more than you have said. They also have spy-glasses, and have 
seen the Indians coming here. They have their big guns in readi- 
ness, and are prepared for a surprise. Therefore what you say is 
not right." 

Then Two Stars spoke and said, "I do not think your plan is 
a good one, because if the attack is made at night only a part of 
us will go, and many will not go. Your plan therefore would 
fail. I have been told that over here in the west they would lie in 
ambush for the troops, and when they came up to them the In- 
dians would rush in, cutting the command in two, and then 
would kill them all. I think that would be a better plan for you.'* 

The reason for Two Stars saying this was, that, if the attack 
was made in daylight, the friendly Indians would have an oppor- 
tunity to let the troops know what was planned. Thus the plan 
of attack was argued until daylight. 

When the morning came, some of the soldiers who were go- 
ing for potatoes were fired upon by the Indians and chased 
back into their camp, and two companies of soldiers came 
out and drove the Indians back. Then aU the hostile Indians 
rushed in, and drove back the two companies of soldiers, 
and killed three of them before they reached their camp. 
Afterward the Indians surrounded the camp, and fired on the 
troops from all sides. As soon as the soldiers were ready, how- 
ever, they came out of the camp and pursued the Indians, killing 
many of them. The Indians then withdrew and went back to 
their camp, and the next morning tied to the northward. 




During this time the friendly Indians in their camp had been 
digging pits outside of their tents, and being armed went about 
taking and bringing into their camp the white captives, putting 
them into the pits, and thus rescuing them from their great suf- 

About this time a war party, with some prisoners in* their 
possession, were reported passing to the westward of the friendly 
camp. Therefore I and Too-kan-shaw-e-che-ya, with others, 
pursued them, and after some resistance they were compelled to 
give up the prisoners, and we brought them into the friendly 
camp. Strict guard was kept all that night. 

The next day General Sibley arrived with his command, 
who made their camp to the eastward of the friendly camp, near 
the Minnesota river. With joyous handshaking we met, and the 
.white prisoners were taken into the soldiers' camp. 

During this time some of the hostile Indians with their fam- 
ilies had been returning under cover of the night, and pitched 
their tents among the friendly Indians. This was reported to 
General Sibley, who issued an order demanding that all arms and 
amunition that had been taken out of the stores and government 
warehouses should be given up, and this was done. 


Then word came that the Indians would be sifted as you 
would sift wheat, the good grain to be put into the bin, but the 
chaff and the bad seeds to be burned. This was done, and all 
those who by good evidence were proven to have done anything 
against the whites were put into irons. Indian scouts were ap- 
pointed and followed after the hostile Indians, many of whom 
•were overtaken in their flight and brought back. 

Soon after that the friendly Indians, with those of the hos- 
tiles who had sneaked in, were all ordered to move with their 
•families to the Yellow Medicine Agency. A camp was formed 
on and about the Agency grounds, with a detachment of soldiers 
to guard them. 



At this time a few of the Indians from this camp crossed the 
•Minnesota river and fled, and another party went off in the 
night and fled north. These things happening, the commander 
at this place ordered every man, woman, and child, to come, and 
a list was made of all those who were under his charge. All 
able-bodied men were shut up and put under guard, but shortly 
afterwards those who were friendly were released. 

Again, another one of those who were under guard got away, 
and the commanding officer ordered that, if he was not found and 
delivered over to the soldiers, the head men should be locked up 
in his place. Search was immediately made, he was found and 
captured, and was delivered over to the solciiers. 

As myself and Ah-kee-pah, and our families, had not been 
implicated in any of the outrages against the whites, we were 
given the privilege of being outside of the Indian camp, coming 
and going as we pleased. This being the case, I went back to 
my old home across the Minnesota river. 

Soon after this, General Sibley with his command, bringing 
the Indians that were there with him, moved down to the Yellow 
•Medicine Agency, and thence, taking all that were there, moved 
down to the Redwood Agency. 

Everything that I owned at my old home had been taken or 
destroyed by the hostile Indians. Having nothing to live on, 
and the outlook being very dreary, I moved my camp to 
Redwood Agency, and pitched my tent with the friendly Indians 
who were' then camped on the north side of Sibley's command. 
The families of those who had been suspected of doing anything 
against the whites were camped on the south side of the troops. 

From this encampment, after the proceedings of the military 
court had been closed, and when all parties had come in from 
hunting the hostile Indians, those who were friendly, with their 
families and the families of those who had been convicted, were 
taken to Fort Snelling, and the convicted men were taken to 

On the way, when they were passing through the town of 
New Ulm, the whites were very much excited. Both men and 
women, coming with stones, bricks, and pitchforks, and anything 
they could lay their hands on, and rushing through the ranks of 


the soldiers who were guarding them, attacked the chained pris- 
oners in the wagons, and knocked many of them senseless. The 
guards, striking these whites with their sabers, drove them back. 
Finally, with much difficulty, they were brought through the 
town. Arriving at Mankato, the convicted men were there im- 

Ah-kee-pah and Red Iron, though not prisoners, were with 
those who were at Mankato, and were quartered with the soldiers 
outside of the Indian prison. 

Thirty-eight of those who were convicted and sentenced to 
be hung paid the penalty. When they were waiting for the drop, 
these men sang and recounted their war deeds and sent farewells 
to their absent relatives, and while all this was going on the time 
came, the rope was cut, and thirty-eight hostile Indians hung in 
the air, each with a rope around his neck. 


The friendly Indians and their families, and the families of 
the prisoners, on their way to Fort Spelling, passed through 
Henderson, at which place the whites were very much angered 
and threw stones at the Indians, hitting some of them, and pulled 
the shawls and blankets off the women, and abused them much. 
But they finally got through the town without any one being 
killed, and formed a camp beyond the town, in an open prairie. 

They were then taken down on the east side of the Minne- 
sota river, and went into camp at some distance from Fort Snell- 
ing. Shortly after this the camp was moved again, being located 
.close to the Minnesota river. These camps were always well 
guarded, but in spite of that many of the horses and oxen belong- 
ing to the Indians were stolen, including three horses that be- 
longed to myself and Charles Crawford. 

Then a fence was built on the south side of the fort and close 
to it. We all moved into this inclosure, but we were so crowded 
and confined that an epidemic broke out among us and children 
were dying day and night, among them being Two Stars' oldest 
child, a little girl. 

The news then came of the hanging at Mankato. Amid all 
this sickness and these great tribulations, it seemed doubtful at 
night whether a person would be alive in the morning, We had 


no land, no homes, no means of support, and the outlook was 
most dreary and discouraging. How can we get lands and have 
homes again, were the questions which troubled many thinking 
minds, and were hard questions to answer. 


Then I went to General Sibley and had a talk with him, and 
suggested to him that some mixed-bloods be picked out as scouts 
and sent to Redwood Agency. But this was a difficult matter 
to consider, so General Sibley called into consultation the officers 
under him, and a letter was written to the great father in regard 
to it. An answer came, and 1 was asked who I thought should 
be sent out there. I gave in the names of myself, Michael Ren- 
ville, Daniel Renville, Isaac Renville, John Moore, Thomas Rob- 
inson, and four full-blood Indians. 

I was laughed at, and was asked whether I thought it was 
a light matter to so soon send out these full-blood Indians. My 
answer was, "You told me to pick out reliable men. I have done 
so. There are full-blood Indians who are more steadfast and 
more to be depended upon than many of the mixed-bloods. This 
is why I have chosen them." The question was referred to the 
authorities at Washington, and in about a month the answer came 
that this might be done. Two Stars, E-chay-tu-ke-ya, E-nee-hah, 
and Wah-su-ho-was-tay, were chosen. 

In the month of February, 1863, having got permission from 
General Sibley and rations, we came out of the inclosure at Fort 
Snelling and started on our journey. In passing the different 
towns on the way the people saw we. were armed, and, surmis- 
ing our occupation, they respected us and did not molest us in 
any way. We arrived at Fort Ridgely, and passing up the Min- 
nesota river made our headquarters on Rice creek. The white 
men who had brought us thus far in sleighs then returned. Other 
scouts were added to these until ten of us had made our camp 
at Rice creek. Alexis and Joseph La Framboise came to where 
we were, and were included as scouts by General Sibley, and wo 
staid there together. 

After a short time we took provisions and blankets and 
started on a scouting expedition up the Minnesota river. \\ e 


came to Yellow Medicine, and then went on up the Minnesota to 
the Chippewa river. There we found signs of the hostile In- 
dians, and commenced searching for their camp. They had sent 
their families away, and had waited for us to come, as we learned 
afterward ; but we were so long getting there that they finally 
followed their families, and we lost track of them. Then we came 
back and reported. Later we went on another scouting expedi- 
tion to the westward. We kept working in this way till spring. 

Soon after that an Indian by the name of Mar-pe-yah-doo-tah 
came into our scouts' camp from the region to w r hich the hostile 
Indians had fled, and we took him to Fort Ridgely. 


The soldiers that were to go on General Sibley's expedition 
began to arrive, and with them w 7 ere scouts who w T ith their fam- 
ilies had come from Fort Snelling. These are their names : 

Anawag-ma-ne, Kah-wan-kay, 

Kah-tah-tay, Joseph Renville, 

Wah-kon-bo-e-day, and his brother, Antoine Renville, 

Narcisse Frenier, Ah-we-tan-e-nah, 

Charles Crawford, Joseph Le Blanc; 

also the following Medawakantons : 

Wah-ke-yan-tah-wah, Chay-tah-shoon, 

Good Thunder, Mah-pe-yah-wah-koon-zay, 

Taopi, Henry Ortley. 


Three other scouts came up in a steamboat from Mankato, 
namely, Ah-wee-pah, Thomas Crawford, and Han-yo-ke-yan. 

When General Sibley had completed his plans for the expe- 
dition against the Sioux in 1863, ae notified the troops that were 
in camp near the Redwood river what day he would be there. 
Great preparations were made, and amid the playing of bands and 
waving of flags he was received with much distinction and 

It was decided there as to which scouts were to go on the 
expedition, and which were not to go. The following are the 



names of those who were not to go, but to remain and scout with 
their headquarters at Fort Ridgely : 



The following are the names of those who were to go as 
scouts with General Sibley's expedition: 

The expedition then started, going by the way of Yellow 
Medicine, Lac qui Parle,. Yellow Bank, and the foot of Big Stone 
lake, to the planting grounds of the Sissetons at the head of lake 
Traverse. Thence they went by the way of the big bend of the 
Sheyenne river, Bear's Den, and the Bald hills, to Eagle hill, and 
from there it was not far to the Missouri river. 

There were Indians camped at this place, and some of Gen- 
eral Sibley's scouts came suddenly upon some of the Indians. 
Little Paul was the first one to see them and reported it, and I 
was the first one who shook hands with the Indians who were 
coming. Some of them wanted to shoot me. but through the 
bravery of O-win-e-ku, who was a relative of mine and took my 
part, I finally met and shook hands with them. 

Two Stars, 
Joseph Le Blanc, 
Antoine Renville, 




Gabriel Renville, 
Michael Renville, 
J. B. Renville, 
Daniel Renville, 
Isaac Renville, 
Joseph Renville, 
John Moore, 
Thomas Robinson, 
Charles Crawford, 
Thomas Crawford, 
Henry Ortley, 

Little Paul, 

David Faribault, Sr., 

William L. Quinn, 

Alexis La Framboise, 

Joseph La Framboise, 




Joseph Campbell, 
Narcisse Frenier, 
Joseph Coursall, 
Good Thunder, 



Biographic Sketch of Chief Gabriel Renville. 
By Samuel J. Brown. 

The subject of this sketch was born at Big Stone lake about 
April, 1825, and died at the residence of the writer at Brown's 
Valley. Minn., on August 26, 1892, being in his sixty-eighth year 
at the time of his death. 

Gabriel's father was a full and only brother of the noted 
bois brule, Joseph Renville (for whom one of the counties of the 
State is named), and was called in Sioux Ohiya, and in English 
Victor, — the latter a translation of the Sioux name. Ohiya or 
Victor Renville was born and reared among the Sioux, and, 
though a mixed-blood, was, it' is said, in appearance, language, 
habits, an3 -reelings, a full-blood Sioux. He was a warrior of 
considerable note, and while on the war-path against the Chippe- 
was was killed and scalped in the neighborhood of what is now 
Fort Ripley about the year 1832, shot dead in his canoe while 
coming down the Mississippi. 

Gabriel's mother, Winona Crawford, also a mixed-blood, was 
the grand-daughter of Ta-tanka-mani, or Walking Buffalo, men- 
tioned by Lieutenant Pike in 1805, and also described in Neill's 
History of Minnesota as a "Sioux chief who was the principal 
man at the treaty of Portage des Sioux [near the mouth of the 
Missouri river] in 181 5," and was the daughter of a Sioux wo- 
man (Ta-tanka-mani's daughter) and a Mr. Crawford, a prom- 
inent British trader in the Northwest prior to and during the 
War of 1812. She was also born and reared among the Sioux, 
and, though married, always retained her father's name. She 
lived for some time with the family of the noted Colonel Dixon, 
the "red-headed Scotchman" and trader at lake Traverse, who 
figured so prominently among the Indians of the Northwest in 
the war with England in 1S12. She was married about 1819 to 
Narcisse Frenier, a bois brulc and Indian trader at lake Tra- 
verse, who, shortly after his marriage went over to the Missouri 
river to look for a location for a trading post, was taken sick 
on the trip, and, as is supposed, died, for he never returned. By 
this union there was born a daughter, Susan, who became the 
wife of the late Joseph R. Brown, and who is still living, and 



now residing with her son, the writer, at Brown's Valley, Minn. 

After Frenier's. death, Winona married Ohiya, or Victor 
Renville, and by this union there was born a son, the subject of 
this sketch. About three years after the death of Gabriel's father 
she married Akipa, a full-blood, who later was given a white 
man's name and called Joseph Akipa Renville, and who was al- 
ways prominent in the councils of his tribe, and who died at 
Sisseton Agency, South Dakota, in 1891. By this union there 
were born two sons, Charles Renville and Thomas Renville, both 
of whom have in late years added "Crawford" to their name, and 
who are now living at Good Will, South Dakota, the former being 
pastor of the Presbyterian church there. Winona Crawford died 
at Sisseton Agency, S. D., in 1897, aged about ninety-two years. 

Gabriel Renville never attended school, except for about a 
month in Chicago, and except also when he was learning to read 
and write his own language from the missionaries. When he 
was about sixteen years old, my father, then living at Grey Cloud, 
after cutting his hair and dressing him in white boys' clothes, 
took him to Chicago and placed him in school there ; but school- 
room confinement and association with strangers speaking an un- 
intelligible and strange tongue did not agree with him or suit him, 
and in about a month he ran away and traveled on foot across the 
prairies of Illinois and through the woods of Wisconsin back to 
his home in Minnesota. He could never be induced to return, 
but in later years always upbraided my father for not giving him 
a sound thrashing and sending him back. 

He spoke no English, but was a thorough master of the 
Sioux tongue. He possessed an unlimited command of the lan- 
guage, was an easy speaker, and was never at a loss for words. 
The writer was intimately associated with him for many years. — 
acted as his interpreter on many a visit to the Great Father at 
Washington, and had therefore ample opportunities for judging, 
— and can say that in his opinion Gabriel Renville had no superior 
— no equal, even — as to ability in the use of the Sioux language. 
He knew the use of it so well and so completely that his every 
word was a sledge hammer, always clear, homely but strong, and 
to the point. The writer well remembers that on one occasion 
when in Washington he was asked by a high official if he would 
be pleased with an Eastern man for Agent. I lis answer was, 


<4 No, give us a Western man. Eastern men are wise and good, 
But they can't tell an Indian from a buffalo calf." 

In personal appearance Chief Renville was a striking figure, 
— broad-shouldered, tall, straight, sinewy, and athletic looking. 
He would command attention anywhere. 

As to his services and conduct during the Sioux outbreak of 
1862 and the war following the outbreak, as well as the estimate 
placed upon his character and worth by prominent men who 
knew him, the writer can do no better than to give extracts of 
letters and papers from Gen. H. H. Sibley, Major Joseph R. 
Brown, Gen. John B. Sanborn, Senator C. K. Davis, all of Min- 
nesota, and Prof. C. C. Painter, formerly of Fisk University, 
Tenn., and afterward agent of the Indian Rights Association at 
Washington, D. C. 

General Sibley, in a communication to the Commissioner of 
Indian Affairs, dated June 22, 1868, said: 

Mr. Renville was among the most trusted and reliable of the mixed- 
bloods employee by me, while I was prosecuting the campaigns against the 
hostile Sioux in 1864 and 1865. Indeed, so well pleased was I with his 
fidelity, energy, and intelligence, that I appointed him Chief of the scouts 
to whom the outer line of defences of the frontier of this State, and of 
Dakota Territory, was entrusted; and he signalized himself by unremitting 
and distinguished services, in that important position. 

Mr. Renville was instrumental in saving the lives of many white cap- 
tives, taken by the Indians in 1862, by his influence and determined efforts 
in their behalf; and he lost a large amount of property, including horses, 
appropriated by the hostile savages, or destroyed, in consequence of his op- 
position to their murderous course. 

In fact he was reduced from a position of comfort and comparative 
opulence, to depend upon what he could earn by his daily exertions, for 
the subsistence of himself and his family, and he was not included in the 
award of the $7,5CO appropriated by Congress to be apportioned among 
those who had remained faithful to the government, by some strange and 
unaccountable omission. 

I have appealed many times to the Interior and War Departments in 
behalf of the Indians. and mixed-bloods who exposed life and property in 
defending the whites against the outrages and massacres to which so many 
were subjected, during the outbreak referred to, but no one individual is 
entitled to more consideration than Gabriel Renville, and I trust it will be 
in the power of your Bureau to make ample amends to him for the loSSCS 
he has sustained, and the sacrifice- he has made, in maintaining the power 
of the government against the organized and almost universal disaffection 
and violence of his own kindred and people. 



Major Brown, in a communication to the Commissioner of 
Indian Affairs, dated March 5, 1870, said : 

Those organized for an armed resistance to the hostilities of the hostile 
bands were largely of the relations of the Chief, and were organized and op- 
erated under his exertions and authority. By the exertions of those Indians 
hundreds of whites were saved, and many of the hostile bands were', pun- 
ished. During the month of May, 1865, thirteen men who were on their way 
to depredate upon the whites were killed at different times by those friendly 
Indians, while acting as scouts for the protection of the frontier under the 
immediate command of Gabriel Renville, their chief. - 

Professor Painter, in a letter to Dr. Edward Everett Hale, 
of Boston, dated in September, 1888, said: 

Renville is a fine specimen of the "noble red man ;" stately, dignified, 
reticent, intelligent, straightforward and manly in his bearing, impressing 
those with whom he meets as possessing great reserved force which could 
easily be called into action if his good sense and perfect mastery of himself 
consented. During the winter I had many interviews with him, and was 
impressed always increasingly bv the quiet dignity and greatness of the man. 
He told the story of his great wrongs in an unruffled, dispassionate calm- 
ness, which almost appeared to be indifference, but there were now and then 
flashes of lightning in his eye which revealed reserves of strength and feel- 
ing which were under the control of a master mind and will. 

General Sanborn, in a note to the writer dated September 16, 
1892, saicl: 

Renville's death was a great loss to his people, and to all his acquaint- 
ances. He was one of the best, if not the best man I ever knew, if good 
^nd benevolent actions done from good and benevolent motives constitute 
true goodness, which I think all concede. He was also a man of great 
mental force, capable of doing a great deal of good or a great deal of evil. 
It was fortunate both for the Indians and the whites that his influence and 
power was always used and always found on the side of right and justice. 
The Sissetons cannot expect to see his like again. 

Senator Davis, in the course of a speech in the United States 
Senate, according to the Congressional Record of February S, 
1899, said : 

I knew Gabriel Renville well. He first called my attention to this >■ ab- 
ject when I was governor of Minnesota, in 1874 and 1S75. He was a great 
man in his way, and was a good man from any point of view. His men 
fought on our side in the Indian war. He rescued many white women and 
children from the hands of Little Crow and his band, then waging war 


against us. He sent his young men into the armies 0L.the United States 
during the war of the rebellion. 

The writer is in possession of many other letters and papers 
from many other prominent men, among them Bishop Whipple, 
Dr. Daniels, and Major Rose, all of whom knew him well, all 
speaking in the highest terms of the man; but space will not 
allow of their reproduction here, and so will content himself by 
simply saying that he believes that the brains of Gabriel Renville 
saved many whites during the Sioux outbreak of 1862, that no 
person 'in the friendly camp made greater exertions for the pre- 
servation of the whites than he. and that the combination of 
friendly Indians and mixed-bloods, through which the white cap- 
tives were obtained from the hostile Indians and delivered over 
to General Sibley, originated with and was organized by him. 

So deeply and so thoroughly was the Department of the In- 
terior impressed with Renville's abilities and general usefulness 
that at the close of the Indian war, at its suggestion, he was made 
Chief of the Sisseton and Wahpeton Sioux of lake Traverse, and 
remained as such chief until his death. 

This rambling and imperfect sketch, already too long, must 
be brought to a close. But before doing so the writer would add 
that Minnesota owes much to Gabriel Renville, and that the least 
it ought to do for him would be to cause a suitable monument to 
be erected to his memory; and that in his opinion the shaft so to 
be erected should stand not only on the soil of the State he loved 
and served so well, but also on the spot where his forefathers 
lived, on the "old Sioux reservation." which was confiscated by 
Congress, and which he labored so hard to have restored to the 
scouts and soldiers of his tribe, on the spot where General Sibley 
camped for a week with his whole army in 1863, preparing for 
a dash across the plains to the Missouri, and where Renville was 
then consulted and advised with so often, and where he and his 
scouts were accustomed to bivouac while "chasing the Little 
Crow," and where the old chief died, between Big Stone and Tra- 
verse fakes. Let this be done that we may show to her sister 
states, and indeed to the world, that Minnesota can honor a 
worthy son, even though a mixed-blood Indian. 

Brown's Volley, Minn., Nov. i8 t igoj. . 




The object of this paper is to present concisely but clearly 
the work of the Second State Legislature of Minnesota and its 
influence upon the character and destiny of the State. 

That this work was honestly, faithfully, and intelli- 
gently performed, cannot be disputed; that it was largely and 
beneficently influential upon the State's welfare is confidently 
believed. The legislation enacted at this session established wise 
policies which have been in the main perpetuated, and laid foun- 
dations for prosperous conditions which' have never been removed 
or shaken. The precedents inaugurated have often been fol- 
lowed ; the lessons taught will for a long time to come be studied. 

The First Legislature, chosen in 1857, met December 2, of 
that year, took a recess March 25 until June 2, 1858, and finally 
adjourned August 12. In politics it was largely Democratic in 
both branches, and the Governor and other State officers were 
also of that political faith. Under the apportionment, as fixed by 
the Constitution, the Senate consisted of 37 members and the 
House of §0, although at the time the total white population of 
the young State was only about 150,000. The e/fects of the gen- 
eral financial panic of 1857 were being sorely felt by the people. 
The general conditions were adverse, and in many instances real- 
ly distressing. Yet with a liberality amounting to recklessness, 
and an inconsideration well nigh criminal, this Legislature con- 
ducted its work on a scale of magnificent proportions. It made 
lavish expenditures and enacted much unwise Legislation. The 

•Read at the monthly meeting ol the Executive Council. March 14. 1904. Mr K. 1. 
Holcombe aided in the preparation of this address, and also read it at this meeting, atter 
Introductory remarks by the President. 


effect of all this was soon and painfully made manifest, and the 
people demanded a change. 

The election of 1859 for State officers, including members 
of the Legislature, resulted in a complete victory for the Repub- 
licans over the Democrats. Alexander Ramsey was elected gov- 
ernor over our late honored associate, Gen. George L. Becker, 
by a majority of 3,753, and the other State officers and both 
branches of the Legislature were Republican. The political can- 
vass of that year had been most spirited. The Democrats were in 
power in the State and nation, and made the most strenuous en- 
deavors to hold their ground, and especially to control the Legis- 
lature, since at its first session many schemes were to be pre- 
sented for consideration, and there was besides a United States 
Senator to be elected. 

The Republican party was young, but its youth was vigorous 
and promising. Its members were enthusiastic in their faith 
and aggressive in their methods to achieve its triumph. The party 
was fortunate in the selection of the chairman of its State Com- 
mittee, another of our late associates, Hon. Charles D. Gilflllan. 
Mr. Gilflllan was not only a very earnest Republican, but a man 
of great intellect, superior judgment, fine tact, and many other 
substantial accomplishments. He worked very hard during this 
campaign, for the opposition had experienced and adroit leaders, 
but the Democrats lost every contested battle. Every Republi- 
can and many Democrats believed that the election and canvass 
of votes in 1857 (which resulted in the declared election of the 
Democratic candidates) were fraudulent, and it'- was Mr. Gil- 
flllan' s determination that at the election of 1859 there should 
be a free vote and an honest count. As a matter of course his 
political associates seconded his efforts and the result was a great 
victory. The people seemed especially desirous that a Republican 
legislature should be chosen to amend and undo the work of the 
Democrats in the sessions of 1857-8, and Republican members 
were elected from many Democratic districts. 

The Second Legislature convened in the old capitol building- 
at St. Paul, December 7, 1859. The Democratic State officials 
were still in place, as their terms did not expire until January 2, 
followine. As I have said both Houses of the Legislature were 
Republican by a strong majority, and so their officers were Re* 


publican. Hon. Amos Coggswell, of Steele county, was elected 
speaker upon the organization of the House. I was a Republican 
member of the House, having been elected from St. Paul in the 
Second representative district. My colleagues from that district 
were Henry Acker, John B. Olivier, Oscar Stephenson, George 
Mitsch, and D. A. Robertson. Mr. Acker and myself were the 
only two Republicans in the House from Ramsey. 

Upon the complete organization of the House, - 1 became 
chairman of the Judiciary Committee. My associates on this 
committee were William Mitchell, of Winona ; George W. Sweet, 
of Benton; H. E. Mann, of Hennepin; and D. A. Robertson of 
Ramsey. Of these, Mr. Mitchell was subsequently for many 
years a judge of tlie Supreme Court ; Mr. Sweet was an old 
resident of the State, whose wife was of Indian blood ; and H. E. 
Mann was a lawyer of Minneapolis, and at the time a member of 
the law firm of Cornell and Mann. Subsequently he was clerk of 
the United States Circuit Court for many years, and removed to 
St. Paul, where he still resides. Col. D. A. Robertson, of St. 
Paul, had been bred to the bar, but was not a practicing lawyer. 
The members of the committee as well as all the other members 
of the Legislature, with but few exceptions, were comparatively 
young men ; and nearly all were capable, bright, and intelligent, 
and desirous of doing the State good service. 

The situation was, as I have said, most unhappy for the 
people and the State; and retrenchment and reform in public, 
as well as in private, affairs were vitally essential. In his mes- 
sage to us tfie retiring governor, General Sibley, presented the 
situation and said, "The embarrassed condition of the State finan- 
ces and impoverished situation of the people imperativelv demand 
retrenchment in expenditures.'' He knew that the State had 
afloat nearly $184,000 in scrip and about $250,000 in eight per 
cent bonds, while there was in the treasury, December 1st. but 
$1,014.16 in cash. He knew that large sums in taxes were de- 
linquent and could not be collected; that the people were poor, 
with small resources and smaller incomes. But he also knew that 
certain expenditures must be made, and that the State, alrca 
in favor with home-seekers, must not be allowed to take one back- 
ward step in her progress, but must push steadily onward. When, 
on January 2, i860, Alexander Ramsey became governor he said 


in his inaugural: "A thorough revision of all laws whereby 
the expenses of town, county, or State governments can be re- 
duced is Imperative.'' 

Along these lines, as indicated by the retiring and the new 
governors, the Legislature, at least the Republican portion, set 
to work immediately upon its organization. The admonitions of 
the chief executives were hardly needed. The members them- 
selves knew the situation, and were eager to meet it and improve 
it. The Republicans had promised the people reforms, and were 
on their good behavior and trial for the future. The House had 
a special "Committee on Retrenchment and Reform/' designed 
to point out all dangers to be removed and all benefits to be se- 
cured. "Of this committee Hon. Henry Acker, of St. Paul, was 
chairman. As a matter of fact, every member, at least on our 
side, was a retrencher and reformer. The result was that through- 
out the entire session the work was done with an eye single to the 
public welfare. Not a line of class legislation was adopted ; no 
scheme even savoring of graft was countenanced; and amid all 
of the many bills introduced no "wolf" could find a lair, and no 
"woodehuck" a burrow. 

All of the members worked faithfully and hard, but the la- 
bors of the House Judiciary Committee were especially onerous 
and exacting. I have had the honor to be a member of the Leg- 
islature at different times since, and I have never seen so much 
hard work performed by that body as was accomplished in the 
second session. As chairman of the Judiciary Committee, I was 
engaged nearly every night of the eighty days of the session until 
nearly midnight, — often until in the small hours. The other 
members of the committee were equally as industrious. Mr. 
Mann frequently labored with us until a very late hour, then 
walked to his home in Minneapolis, and walked the distance back 
the following morning in time to be present at the opening of the 
daily session at ten o'clock. The reason why so much was ex- 
acted of our committee was that nearly every bill introduced was 
at some stage of its progress referred to us for opinion as to its 
constitutionality. Our reports were invariably adopted, and many 
unwise and improper measures were disposed of by our adverse 
recommendations. The Senate Judiciary Committee, of which 
Jesse Bishop, of Goodhue county, was chairman, and C. C. An- 


drews and Lucas K. Stannard the other members, was doubtless 
equally hard worked. 

It is not practicable, in this paper, to do more than sum- 
marize the work accomplished by this Legislature. It may be 
sufficient — as it is the truth — to say that many of the measures 
which it enacted were virtually original in their character, and 
the principles they contained were of such force as precedents 
that they became fairly fundamental. Their influence, was im- 
mediately beneficial and has always been valuable in its effects 
upon our State. Only a very few of the laws passed were modi- 
fied by judicial decisions; and many of them, in word and letter, 
are yet on the statute books. , 

Karly in the session, December 15, Hon. Morton S. Wilkin- 
son, Republican, was elected U. S. Senator, over and in place of 
Gen. James Shields, Democrat. Senator Wilkinson was a staunch 
Free Soiler. He was an intimate personal friend of Abraham 
Lincoln, and brought a letter of indorsement from him when he 
came to Minnesota. In the first numbers of the "Minnesota Pi- 
oneer" Wilkinson's professional card appears, and among his 
references are the names of "Wm. H. Seward, Auburn, X. Y., 
and Hon. Abe Lincoln, Springfield, 111." He made an excellent 
war senator, always upholding the administration, and at one 
time, as the personal friend of Lincoln, exposed and defeated 
a conspiracy to prevent his nomination for re-election. 

January 2, i860, the newly elected Republican governor and 
the other State officers were duly inaugurated and installed, and 
then the legislative machinery rolled smoothly, and steadily. 
Party spirit was very high and constantly running higher. In 
the Senate, during the December part of the session, some of the 
Republicans became so incensed over certain rulings of Lieut. 
Gov. Holcombe, the Democratic presiding officer, that they strove 
to induce the House to impeach him. Our Judiciary Conim:: 
promptly decided, and so reported, that the House had no right 
to interfere with the business of the Senate, suggesting that our 
aggrieved brethren, who were largely in the majority, might 
amend their rules so as to make the lieutenant governor do pre- 
cisely what they wanted him to do. After January 2, Ignatius 
Donnelly was lieutenant governor, and only Democrats com- 
plained then. 


About December 16, the Judiciary Committee of the House 
brought in a new tax bill, the main principles of which may be 
said to be still in force. It was a complete substitute for the in- 
adequate measure enacted by the previous Legislature. We en- 
titled it, "An Act to provide for the assessment and taxation of 
all property in this State, and for levying taxes thereon accord- 
ing to its true value in money." All private property, real and 
personal, was made subject to taxation, excepting $200 worth of 
personal property to individuals, and excepting stocks in their 
ownership which had been already listed by the corporations is- 
suing them. Stringent provisions were made for the collection of 
taxes without favor to any one. A great deal of care was exer- 
cised in framing this bill, and it was believed to be as near per- 
fect as possible. Some of the provisions were opposed by the 
Democrats, chiefly for partisan reasons, as most of us believed, 
for they lost no opportunity to criticise the dominant party and 
to attempt to put us "in a hole." 

Early in the session Mr. William Sprigg Hall, a prominent 
Democratic lawyer of St. Paul, and then a member of the Senate, 
introduced a series of resolutions strongly denunciatory of John 
Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry and of all its sympathizers. 
When the resolutions came before the House, I amended them 
by adding certain clauses condemning the sentiments of Southern 
members of Congress in favor of dissolving the Union in the 
event of the election of a Republican President, declaring that 
the Union ought never in any contingency to be dissolved ; and 
in the end the resolutions, as amended, were adopted by both 

The Legislature enacted a good practicable road law ; a law 
regulating the business of insurance companies; amended the 
militia law ; provided for the organization of agricultural socie- 
ties; gave lumbermen a lien for their services on the logs and 
lumber on which they had worked ; provided for the formation of 
companies for mining, smelting, and manufacturing iron, copper, 
and other minerals, and to encourage these industries, then not 
well established, levied no tax on their output. It also enacted a 
stringent law against bribery, and another prohibiting the sale 
of liquor to the Indians. After much discussion of the subject, 
it refused to abolish capital punishment. It established interest 



rates at seven per cent for legal indebtedness, six per cent for 
judgments of courts, and at not more than twelve per cent by 
contract between individuals. At that time those who were com- 
pelled to borrow money were glad to get it at twelve per cent 
per annum. The rate had often been two and three per cent per 

The most rigid economy was prescribed in every detail of 
the public expenditure. The governor's annual salary was re- 
duced from $2,500 to $1,500; his private secretary was allowed 
$400; the lieutenant governor's salary was reduced from $1,500 
a year to a per diem; the Secretary of State was given $1,200; 
the Auditor, Treasurer, and Attorney General, $1,000 each; the 
clerk of the Supreme Court, and the State Librarian, $600 each ; 
the Supreme Court reporter, $500; and the warden of the Peni- 
tentiary, $750. Clerk hire in the offices of the Auditor, Secre- 
tary of State, and Treasurer, was limited to $600 in each office. 
The expenditure for fuel and lights for both houses of the Legis- 
lature and the other State offices was fixed at $700 per year. At 
the time, the fuel used was wood, and the lights chiefly candles. 
The office of prosecuting attorney for each of the several judic- 
ial districts was abolished, and county attorneys were substituted. 
The Legislature created but one new salaried State office, that of 
Commissioner of Statistics, who was given $75 per month and 
allowed $510 for printing his reports. The commissioner was 
Joseph A. Wheelock, now the Xestor of Northwestern journal- 

The First Legislature had established a system of county or- 
ganization and government, which had proved very unsatisfac- 
tory and quite ineffective. The county government was vested 
in a Board of Supervisors, composed of one member from each 
civil township, who were to be elected by the people of the re- 
spective townships. The results generally were that the Boards 
comprised a dozen or more members each, and that there were a 
divergence and a multiplicity of views among them on every 
question acted upon. The system proved cumbersome, unwieldly, 
and expensive, and the people became disgusted with it. 

The Second Legislature repealed the law of 1S5S. and en- 
acted another in its stead, creating by its provisions a Board of 
County Commissioners. In counties where eight hundred votes 




or more had been cast at the previous election, five commissioners 
were to be chosen by the electors of the entire county; and in 
counties where less than eight hundred votes had been cast, the 
Board was to consist of three members. In counties where town- 
ship organizations had been effected, the governor was to ap- 
point the commissioners. The salaries of the commissioners were 
fixed at $1.50 a day, when actually engaged in their official du- 
ties, with six cents mileage for every mile actually traveled in at- 
tending sessions. This was the inauguration of the County Com- 
missioners system, which is practically in operation today, and 
which has always worked so well. 

A township organization was effected providing for town 
clerks, assessors, and supervisors in each civil township. These 
officers were each to receive $1.50 a day for services actually ren- 
dered, but no town supervisor was to receive more than $20 in a 
single year. This system was well adapted to conditions as they 
then existed, and proved generally popular for a long period of 

The general elections of 1857, as I have stated, gave great 
dissatisfaction to the Republicans. They believed that it had been 
illegally and fraudulently conducted, with the result that the 
State officers declared elected had not received a fair majority of 
the legal votes cast. However this may have been — and of course 
there were two distinct and differing opinions regarding the fact, 
— the Second Legislature determined to amend the rather loose 
-election law so as to reduce illegal and fraudulent voting to the 
minimum in extent, and to prevent it altogether if possible. An 
entirely new law on this subject was enacted. The most im- 
portant provision of this law was the requirement of a registra- 
tion by voters. No person not registered could vote. The man- 
ner of establishing the eligibility of voters, of counting the vote, 
of making returns, and many other paragraphs of the law, are 
actually in the election iaws of today. The Australian ballot 
system was not adopted until thirty years later. 

The statutes relating to common schools were amended, and 
substantially a new system was adopted, The Chancellor of the 
State University was made ex-officio State Superintendent of the 
schools, and his duties were prescribed. Xo county superintend- 
ents were to be chosen. Each civil township, at the annual town 



meetings, was to choose a town school superintendent, who might 
grant teachers' certificates, which weie to be valid only in his 
town. Teachers' certificates from the chairman and secretary of 
the State Normal School at Winona were to be valid throughout 
the State. Township superintendents were to be paid by the 
town supervisors. This law was good only for the time and the 
prevailing conditions. The present system, in the then. sparsely 
settled condition of many of the counties, was not practicable. 

This Legislature passed a new law for the government and 
regulation of the State University. By its provisions the founda- 
tions of the institution were securely laid and its future upbuild- 
ing provided for. Its affairs were to be managed and controlled 
by a Board of Regents, to consist of the governor, lieutenant gov- 
ernor, the chancellor, and five other members, to be appointed by 
the governor. One section of the act read : "The University 
shall never be under the control of any religious denomination." 
No sales of lands belonging to the University were allowed un- 
less ordered by the Board of Regents. When sales were made, 
the surplus income arising therefrom was to be invested in United 
States securities or other well established interest-bearing stocks, 
as a fund for defraying the current expenses of the institution. 
The chancellor's term of office was to be that of a district judge 
of the state, and the Legislature was to fix his compensation. 
The chancellor then in office was the late Rev. Dr. Edward D. 

The Legislature of 1858 had provided for establishing three 
state normal schools, one to be built every five years, upon the 
donation of $5,000 in money or lands. There was no imperative 
or immediate need of these schools, and in view of the general 
adverse conditions, the limited resources of the state and of its 
people, it was then practically impossible to provide for them. 
So the Second Legislature suspended the act on the subject for 
five years. It was expressly provided, however, that this suspen- 
sion should not apply to the normal school at Winona, which 
was already established. 

In order to erect the necessary buildings for the Winona 
Normal, the Board of Directors of that school was empowered 
to sell all the property that the state had donated to the institution, 
except so much as might be necessary for Other aids to its com- 


The particular attention, of the Second Legislature was from 
the first to the last day of the session directed to the condition of 
the projected railroads in the state. Under the land grants and 
the Five Million Loan bill, the grading of certain roads had been 
commenced a year and more previously. Detached pieces of 
grading had been made on different lines, when the constructing 
companies became wholly unable to procure funds to prosecute 
their work, and it was stopped. The State issued its bonds only 
upon completed work, and the companies seemed powerless to 
go ahead. There was great dissatisfaction, amounting to indig- 
nation, among the people at this unhappy and damaging condi- 
tion of affairs. They greatly desired and needed railroads, but 
the companies with franchises to build them were practically 
bankrupt and powerless ; and the incomplete condition of their 
roads, and the loan bill, the bonds, etc., constituted menaces and 
obstacles to the building of other roads by other companies. 

There was a wellnigh universal demand that all further aid 
to the railroads already projected be withheld and refused. The 
Legislature was compelled to act. The State had is c ued to the 
railroad companies its seven per cent bonds to the amount of 
$2,275,000, and less than fifty miles of grading had been done. 
The situation was intolerable. After many protracted and spirit- 
ed discussions of the subject, a joint committee of both I {ouses 
reported in favor of a most heroic remedy. Dr. J. H. Stewart, 
of St. Paul, was chairman of the Senate Committee, and G. K. 
Cleveland was at the head of the Committee of the House. On 
the lines of this report, the Legislature, by a concurrent resolu- 
tion of both houses, submitted to the people an amendment to 
the State Constitution regarding tax levies, with this important 
reservation : 

But no law levying a tax or making other provisions for the payment 
of the interest or principal of the bonds denominated "Minnesota State 
Railroad Bonds" shall take effect or be in force until such law shall have 
been submitted to a vote of the people of the State, and adopted by a major- 
ity of the electors of the State voting upon the same. 

Another amendment to Section 10 of Article 9 of the Con- 
stitution was also proposed to the people for their ratification 
or rejection, and this amendment read : 



The credit of the State shall never be given or loaned in aid of any in- 
dividual, association, or corporation ; nor shall there be any further issue of 
bonds denominated "Minnesota Railroad Bonds" under what purports to 
be an amendment to Section 10, Article 9, of this Constitution adopted 
April 15, 1858, which is hereby expunged from the Constitution, saving, ex- 
cepting and reserving to the State, nevertheless, all rights, remedies, and 
forfeitures accruing under said amendment. 

The land grant railroad companies, as security for the State 
bonds which they had received, had issued and delivered to the 
State their bonds, which were secured by deeds of trust on the 
lands donated them. Default had been made in the payment of 
interest on these bonds, and the trustees under the trust deeds 
had failed to foreclose on them, as they were directed to do. The 
Legislature, therefore, empowered the governor to foreclose them 
and to bid them in for the State upon their sale. Subsequently 
this action was taken by the chief executive in many instances. 

Both of the proposed amendments to the Constitution were 
adopted by the people at the presidential election in i860, by 
an overwhelming majority. The vote in favor of the expunging 
amendment was 19,308; against, 710. After about twenty years 
of discussion on the subject, a compromise was effected with the 
holders of the bonds, and they were paid fifty cents on the dollar 
on their claims; The action of the Legislature and the people 
in the so-called repudiation of the bonds apparently never im- 
paired the credit of the State in the slightest degree. Two years 
after the legislature adjourned, work on the old St. Paul and Pa- 
cific railroad was commenced, and the same year it was complet- 
ed between the capital and St. Anthony. Nearly all the main 
lines now in the state were projected and a great portion of 
them built before the alleged "stain of repudiation" was removed. 
Railroad-building was carried on in Minnesota during the dark 
days of the War of the Rebellion, while it was wholly suspended 
in other Northwestern states. 

In pursuance of its policy of rigid retrenchment and econ- 
omy, the Legislature reformed the composition of that body it- 
self. Under the apportionment made by the First Legislature, 
the House was composed of 80 and the Senate of 39 members, 
a total of 119. By a new apportionment the Second Legislature 
reduced the total membership to 63, or 21 in the Senate and 4*- 


in the House, a total reduction of 56 members. At the same time 
legislative sessions were reduced to sixty days for regular ses- 
sions, and thirty days for special sessions. This reform was 
effected by the force of an act providing that members should 
not be paid for a longer time. The First Legislature, including 
the adjourned session from July 2 to August 12, 1858, had met 
for about 150 days. The second was in session for 80 days. 

One very practical result of this Legislature's work was a 
great reduction of the State's expenses. As shown by the reports 
still of record, the expenditures for 1859 na d been about $281,400, 
leaving, as I have said, a balance in the treasury subject to draft 
of $1,014.16. The total disbursements from the State treasury 
from December 1, 1859, to January 1, 1861, — thirteen months — 
was $138,846.84. The reduction in the State's expenses in i860 
over those of 1859 was thus about $142,500, a very large sum at 
that time under all the circumstances. In i860 there were prob- 
ably not in the State twenty men worth $50,000 each. 

By a joint resolution of both houses, originally introduced 
by Senator C. C. Andrews, the State's representatives in Congress 
were instructed to vote for a national homestead law, which 
would give to each actual settler, after an occupation of five 
years, 160 acres of the public land. A little more than a year 
thereafter the homestead law was enacted. 

Another joint resolution demanded the removal of the Win- 
nebago Indians from the State, and the opening to white settle- 
ment of their reservation in Blue Earth county. The removal 
was not effected, however, until in 1863. 

A memorial to Congress asked for the acquisition, by treaty 
with the Chippewas, of the lower part of the Red River valley, 
and the opening of the territory acquired to settlement. The 
treaty was made on the part of the government by Governor 
Ramsey in 1863, and the adoption of the memorial referred to 
was the first authoritative and important action taken in the 

Another memorial to Congress, introduced by Representative 
William Nettleton. was adopted, asking for the establishment of 
ligEthouses at "Beaver Bay, the Grand Portage, and the mouth 
of the Pigeon river," all on the Minnesota coast of lake Superior. 



No lighthouses had been erected in that quarter before that time. 
The memorial recited that during- the season of 1859 "four steam- 
boats had made regular trips" to the Minnesota ports named, 
and that "more than forty sailing crafts" had been engaged in 
fishing and coasting. It was further stated that the prospects 
were that this commerce would be increased, because of the im- 
portant and significant fact that the abundant evidences of the 
existence of valuable mines and mineral deposits along and near 
the lake was already engaging the attention of immigrants and 

It may with propriety. Be said by one of its humblest mem- 
bers that the personnel of the Second Legislature was of high 
order. Almost without exception, the members were men of in- 
telligence, character, and righteous purpose. Their work was 
performed under the influence of unselfish and patriotic impulses. 
In after years they exemplified their dispositions by right living, 
by conspicuous and valuable public service, and by heroic and 
gallant endeavor on the battlefield. Some of them became mem- 
bers of Congress; others held judicial, diplomatic, and other re- 
sponsible positions under the Federal and State authority. In 
the War of the Rebellion, many served with high rank and dis- 
tinction, some coming out of that conflict with the stars of a gen- 
eral, while others gave their blood and their lives that the Union 
might live and not die. 

Of the members of the Senate, Dr. Jacob H. Stewart was 
surgeon o"f the First Minnesota regiment, and subsequently may- 
or of St. Paul for two or three terms and member of Congress. 
Michael Cook became major of the Tenth Minnesota, and was 
mortally wounded at the battle of Nashville. Robert N. Mc- 
Laren was colonel of the Second Minnesota Cavalry, and was 
brevetted brigadier general ; after the war he was collector of 
internal revenue, United States marshal, etc. John T. Averill 
was lieutenant coloned of the Sixth Minnesota, and was brevet- 
ted a brigadier; and after the war he served four years in Con- 
gress. Henry C. Rogers became lieutenant colonel of the Eighth 
Minnesota, and died from wounds received in the "Battle of the 
Cedars," near Murfrecsboro, Tenn. Alonzo J. EdgertOIl was a 
captain in the Tenth Minnesota, and colonel of a regiment of 


colored troops; and after the war he was a judge of the United 
States District Court, U. S. senator from Minnesota, and gov- 
ernor of South Dakota. Christopher C. Andrews became colonel 
of the Third Minnesota, and was promoted to brigadier and bre- 
vet major general, and in time of peace represented the govern- 
ment" as minister to Sweden and consul general to Brazil. Oscar 
Taylor was a captain in the Minnesota Mounted Rangers. John 
H. Stevens was always a prominent and useful citizen and one 
of our best associates. 

Of the House, John B. Sanborn was colonel of the Fourth 
Minnesota regiment, and became a brevet major general. Dr. 
Moody C. Tolman was a surgeon of the Second Minnesota reg- 
iment. William Mitchell served nineteen years on our Supreme 
Bench, and was an able and eminent jurist. William Pfaender 
was a lieutenant in the First Minnesota Battery at Shiloh, be- 
came a lieutenant colonel of one of our cavalry regiments, and 
after the war served two years as State Treasurer. John B. 
Olivier was a good soldier in the Eighth Minnesota regiment. 

But for the disastrous fact that the year after its adjourn- 
ment the War of the Rebellion came, the valuable work of the 
Legislature of i860 would have been' more apparent. As the 
condition was, however, the work was serviceable, for the State 
was able to meet the emergencies thrust upon it, which it would 
Have been sorely pressed to do had the over-liberal, if not reck- 
less and extravagant, policy of the First Legislature been con- 
tinued by the Second. 

The great value of the work of the Legislature of i860 was 
that it established sound and safe policies for the government 
of the commonwealth, which, in the main, have ever since been 
followed. Its actions have often served as precedents and been 
cited as proper models by subsequent Legislatures. The result 
is that Minnesota, after the most bountiful expenditures in aid 
of her institutions and her people, is. and for a long time has 
been, in a most enviable condition financially, meeting all demands 
upon her treasury at maturity. 

The progress and development of the State have been un- 
exampled. Xo other State in the Union has such a record in 
these respects. In forty years, or from i860 to 1900, our popu- 


lation increased from 172,000 to 1,751,000; the taxable value of 
property from about $30,000,000 to $786,869,809; and the num- 
ber of miles of railway from none to 7,000. An important factor 
in the promotion of this admirable condition has been the sys- 
tem of laws under which we have lived and whose foundation 
was laid by the Second Legislature. The labors of the session 
were performed with the single purpose of promoting the pub- 
lic welfare, net alone for the then present, but for the -future, 
and the consummation was most happy. A valuable and glorious 
ending crowned a season of hard and faithful work. 



The world- famed milling industries of Minneapolis had their 
beginning at the same time with the building of Fort Snelling. 
These first mills in our territory were a familiar sight to many 
of our people who are yet living; but already a cloud of doubt 
has arisen as to the exact dates of their erection, and whether 
there was originally one mill or two. 

In Atwater's History of Minneapolis (1893), on pages 535 
and 536, Hon. James T. Wyman expressed the view, which the 
writer of the present paper also formerly entertained,f that only 
one mill was erected by the United States troops at the Falls of 
St. Anthony before the completion of Fort Snelling; that this, 
commonly called the Government Mill, was a small stone build- 
ing, used as a grist mill from 1822 to 1830; and that at the latter 
date a saw mill was built there. 

The different view, that two separate mills were built by 
the government at about the same time, in 182 1 to 1823, has been 
found to be correct, as I now think, after careful inquiry and re- 
search. Mr. Rufus J. Baldwin gave a good picture of the old 
mills, from a daguerreotype or photograph taken about the year 
1857, in Atwater's History of Minneapolis, on page 22 ; but, 
though the picture shows the two mills, his description indicates 
only one, used originally for sawing lumber, and two years later 
fitted up as a grist mill. Baldwin seems to have accepted the 
statement given by Dr. Neill, a dozen years before, in the His- 
tory of Hennepin County. The object of this paper is to pre- 

•Read at the monthly meeting of the Executive Council. March 14, 1004. 
■fDescriptlve text accompanying "Early Scenes n Minneapolis. " published in MOB, 



sent the reasons for my conclusion, that two mills were built here 
thus early, and to narrate concisely the origin and history of this 
prelude to our state's vast wealth of lumber and flour manu- 

Coincident with the erection of a permanent pest at Fort 
Snelling, the soldiers of the Fifth Infantry, who were performing 
all the labor on that structure, built on the west bank of the Mis- 
sissippi river, at these falls, as seems now to be well ascertained, 
both a saw mill and a flour mill. That historic spot is now the 
center of the great milling district of Minneapolis. 

The first of these mills was put up in 182 1, and was equipped 
with a quick acting upright saw, known among lumbermen as 
a muley-saw. The other was built and fitted up in 1823 with one 
run of stone (French buhrs) and other simple appliances for 
making flour, according to the primitive methods then in vogue. 

The flour mill was about 16 or 18 feet square, and the saw 
mill is said to have measured about 50 by 70 feet. The first esti- 
mate is from my personal examination of the foundation walls, 
which I made in 1879, when the last vestige of the two structures 
was removed ; and the other is given by George E. Huey, who 
operated the saw mill from 1852 to 1855. The well known pic- 
ture, however, indicates a considerably smaller size for the saw 

Fortunately an authentic account, written by an eye witness 
of the building of the saw mill, is obtainable at this time. The 
narrator was Philander Prescott, the well known Indian trader, 
and was written by him at the suggestion of the Minnesota His- 
torical Society in 1861, about one year prior to his tragic death 
at the hands of the Sioux Indians at the Lower Sioux Agency on 
the Minnesota river, in the outbreak of 1862. It was published 
in Volume VI of this Society's Collections. 

Prescott came to the fort in 1819 as a clerk to Mr. Devotion, 
the Indian trader, while the troops were still in the original log 
cantonment on the Mendota side of the Minnesota river. Some 
years later Prescott took to himself an Indian wife, and began 
trading with the Sioux on his own account, establishing him- 
self at "Land's End/' about two miles above the fort, on the west 
bank of the Minnesota river. His first home was Located just out- 
side the walls of Fort Snelling on the bank of this river, and his 



second on the military road between Minnehaha Falls and St. 
Anthony Falls, about one mile from the former. This house, 
built about 1850, is still standing. He traded extensively with 
the Sioux Indians and was frequently absent from home, looking 
after his interests in their camps or at the trading posts. While 
on one of these expeditions, awaiting the arrival of annuity funds, 
which were to be paid by the government to the Sioux at the 
Lower Agency, near Redwood Falls, Minnesota, he met his death 
on August 18, 1862, being one of the first persons killed by the 
savages in the general massacre which began there and spread 
over the southwestern part of the state. 

That part of Prescott's narrative which relates to the old 
saw mill is as follows : 

In the summer of 1820 there was not much done towards the building 
of the fort. The physician and commanding officer thought the location 
[on the bottomland at the riverside] an unhealthful one, and moved all the 
troops over to some springs called '"Camp Coldwater/' nearly a mile above 
the present fort, on the Mississippi river .... a site was selected by the 
commanding officer on the first rise, about 300 yards west of the present fort, 
and some timber was hauled to the spot. As the fort was to be built of 
hewed logs, it would require a large amount of boards for so large a fort. 
An examination of the Little Falls (Minnehaha) was made, and it was 
thought there was not water enough for a mill, as the water was very low 
in the summer of 1S20, and St. Anthony was selected. An officer and some 
men had been sent up the river to examine the pine and see if it could be got 
to the river by hand. The party returned and made a favorable report, and 
in the winter [1820-1] a party was sent out to cut pine logs, and to raft 
them down in the spring, and they brought down about 2,000 logs by hand. 
Some ten or fifteen men would haul one log on a sled from one-fourth to 
one-half a mile, and lay it upon the bank of Rum river, and in the spring 
they were rolled into the -river and floated down to the mouth and then 
made into small rafts and floated to the present landing above the bridge. 
[The landing referred to was later Captain John Tapper's ferry landing, 
near the present steel arch bridge in Minneapolis.] 

.... The plans for the fort had been prepared [by Lt. Col. Leaven- 
worth] . . . but were somewhat altered by Col. Sneiling, the officer suc- 
ceeding, and the location was moved from the point that Col. Leavenworth 
selected to the present location, and the saw mill was commenced ;n ihe 
fall and winter of 1820-21 and finished in i8jj. and a lar^e quantity or" lum- 
ber was made for the whole fort, and all the furniture and outbuildings, and 
all the logs were brought to the mill or the landing by hand, and hauled 
from the landing to the mill, and from the mill to the fort by teams, Am 
officer by the name of Lieut. Croozer [William E. Kruger is the officer re- 


ferred to] lived and had charge of the mill party . . . the troops passed 
the summer at Camp Co! d water, and in the fall moved back again to the old 
cantonment and passed the winter, and got out timber for the soldiers' 
barracks, and before the autumn of 1823 nearly all the soldiers had been got 
into quarters, and considerable work had been done on the officers' quar- 

Mr. Danie! Stanchfield confirms Prescott's statement that 
the pine timber used in the fort was cut near Rum river. In 1847 
and 1848 he examined these pineries, and in Volume IX of the 
Minnesota Historical Society Collections, page 342, he wrote : 

On a tributary which enters this river from the northeast about four 
miles north of the present town of Cambridge, I found a small lake and 
good white pine on every side. This was afterward called Lower Stanch- 
field brook. I logged there two years, which was the first lumbering upon 
a large scale on Rum river. 

A part of the lumber for building Fort Snelling, however, had been 
cut on the same lake ; for we found on its shore the remains of an old 
logging camp that had been there many years. In its vicinity pine trees had 
been cut and taken away, and the stumps had partially decayed. Logging 
had also been done at the same early date in the Dutchman's grove, where 
my party in the autumn of 1847 got the logs designed for building the St. 
Anthony dam. This grove was on the southwest side of the river, about 
midway between the Lower and Upper Stanchfield brooks, which come 
from the opposite side. 

The first printed reference, so far as known, to two mills at 
the Falls of St. Anthony, is furnished by Prof. William H. Keat- 
ing, who, as the historian of the party, accompanied Major Steph- 
en H. Long's expedition up the Mississippi river in 1823. After 
telling how the party waded over on the limestone river bed, close 
above the brink of the falls, to the island, and then returned, 
he says : ''Two mills have been erected for the use of the gar- 
rison, and a sergeant's guard is kept here at all times. On our 
return from the island we recruited our strength with a copious 
and palatable meal prepared for us by the old sergeant." 

Every traveler who wrote of the portage of the falls, prior to 
the incoming of the settlers, almost invariably mentioned the mills 
there, after indulging in praises of the mighty cataract. But fre- 
quently only one mill was so mentioned. 

Beltrami, in his "Pilgrimage," published in London in [8281 
says, in Volume II, page 200: "A mill and a few little COttagtS, 



built by the colonel for the use of the garrison, and the surround- 
ing country adorned with romantic scenes, complete the magnifi- 
cent picture. " Again on his return, at the end of his long journey 
from Pembina, he wrote of his coming to the' Falls of St. An- 
thony : "The strength of the current hurried forward our canoe 
with alarming rapidity ; and at length I discerned between the 
trees, and in a pleasant background, the roof of a house, indi- 
cating of course civilized habitation. This was the mill for the 
garrison at the fort." 

Corroborative evidence of the existence of two mills at the 
falls is furnished by Colonel John H. Bliss, whose father was 
commander at Fort Snelling from 1833 to 1836. In his "Remi- 
niscences of Fort Snelling," which can be found in Volume VI 
of the Minnesota Historical Society Collections, he says, on page 

The Falls of Saint Anthony, too, were picturesque ; the government had 
a little muley saw-mill there, and a small grist-mill, for grinding corn, all, 
of course, for the use of the garrison; there, too, was kept our supply of 
beef cattle. All this necessitated the erection of a comfortable building 
for the sergeant and eight or ten men who had charge of things, and this 
was all there then was of the splendid city of Minneapolis. We used oc- 
casionally to have picnics there, and drove out a few times of a winter 
night, had a hot supper and a whisky punch, and back to the Fort again, 
with the coyotes howling about us, but rarely in sight. 

On page 346 he makes another reference to the mills as 
follows : 

One day word was brought to the Fort that they [the Indians] had 
burned the mills at the Falls of Saint Anthony and murdered the men in 
charge. A strong force was at once dispatched there, and everything about 
the Fort put in defensible shape. When the detachment reached the mills 
they were found uninjured, and the men quietly pursuing their avocations 
without the slightest suspicion that they had been tomahawked and scalped. 

On pages 347 and 348 is another reference : 

To the best of my recollection, it was in the spring of i8;,3 that two 
brothers named Pond wandered that way. They said they had come to 
devote themselves to the welfare of the Indians, and I belie-, e they did this 
to the full extent and limit of their abilities. They were earnest workers, 
with no nonsense about them. My father supplied their, from the saw-mill, 
with the necessary lumber for a neat, comfortable, two-roomed little house, 
and in conjunction with Major Taliaferro [the Indian Agent], aided them 
in their start at housekeeping on the shore of Lake Calhoun, a short dis- 
tance from the Indian village. 


Mrs. Charlotte O. Van Cleve, in her delightful book of a 
comparatively recent date, "Three Score Years and Ten," says, 
on page 42 : 

How sweet those berries were, and how delicious the fish which we 
caught in the pretty Lakes Calhoun and Harriet, the one named for the 
great statesman, the other for Mrs. Leavenworth. We generally carried 
our treasures from field and lake to the "old Government Mill" at the "Big 
Falls" St. Anthony and had our feast prepared and set in order by th£ 
miller's wife. 


Rev. Stephen R. Riggs, in his entertaining book, "Mary and 
I, Forty Years with the Sioux," published in 1880, referring to 
a trip which he and his wife had made in 1837 from Fort Snell- 
ing, where they were temporarily residing, to the mill, says, on 
page 24 : "And so, we harnessed up a horse and cart, and had a 
pleasant ride across the prairie to the government saw-mill, 
which, with a small dwelling for the soldier occupant, was then 
the only sign of civilization on the present site of Minneapolis." 

Dr. Edward D. Neill, in the History of Hennepin County 
(1881), on pages 94 and 95, mentions a memorandum from the 
books of the U. S. A. Commissary Department, at Washington, 
showing that the flour mill at the falls of St. Anthony was fitted 
up in 1823, after having been used, as he supposed, for two years 
in sawing- lumber, the date when it was built being- 1821. Under 
date of August 5, 1823, as Dr. Neill says, General Gibson wrote 
to Lieutenant Clark, Commissary at Fort Snelling, as follows : 
"From a letter addressed by Col. Snelling to the Quartermaster 
General, dated the 2d of April, I learn that a large quantity of 
wheat would be raised this summer. The assistant Commissary 
of Subsistence at St. Louis has been instructed to forward sickles 
and a pair of millstones to St. Peters. If any flour is manufac- 
tured from the wheat raised, be pleased to let me know. . . 
The memorandum was for the following items : 

One pair buhr millstones $250.11 

337 pounds plaster of Paris 20.22 

Two dozen sickles 18.00 

Total $288.33 

Rev. William T. Bout well, the historian accompaning School- 
craft to "the tribes near the source of the Mississippi river," in 


1832, recorded in his journal (published in Volume I of this So- 
ciety's Collections), under date of July 25 of that year, the fol- 
lowing reference to the government mills. 

Embarked at five this morning, and marched till twelve, when we 
reached the falls of St. Anthony, nine miles above the mouth of the St. 
Peter's. Our government have here a saw-mill and grist-mill on the west 
bank of the Mississippi, and also have a large farm. The soldiers are 
here cutting hay. For beauty, the country around exceeds all that I can say- 
Gen. R. W. Johnson, who served at Fort Snelling for sev- 
eral years subsequent to 1849, contributed his mite to the mill 
story, in this Society's Volume VIII, as follows: "A saw mill 
was established at the Falls of St. Anthony, where was manu- 
factured all the lumber used in the construction of the fort." 
Some of the old buildings of the fort, however, when recently 
torn down, were found to be built largely with hewn timber for 
framing, while much of their plank and board lumber was evi- 
dently sawn by hand with whip-saws, familiar to frontier settlers. 
It is thus known that the pine timber from Rum river, sawn at 
the government mill, was only a part of the material used for 
building the fort, and that other lumber, as of oak, elm, etc., from 
the woods along the rivers and uplands near the fort, was also 
supplied by the ax and whip-saw. 

On page 95, of Volume VI, of the Minnesota Historical So- 
ciety Collections, in "Early Days at Red River Settlement, and 
Fort Snelling," Mrs. Ann Adams wrote of the unsuccessful ef- 
forts made by the commanding officer of the fort to manufacture 
flour in the government mill, as follows : 

Fort Snelling was not, at that time [1823], completely finished, but was 
occupied. Col. Snelling had sowed some wheat that season, and had it ground 
at a mill which the government had built at the falls, but the wheat had be- 
come mouldy, or sprouted, and made wretched, black, bitter tasting bread. 
This was issued to the troops, who got mad because they could not eat it. 
and brought it to the parade ground and threw it down there. Col. Snelling 
came out and remonstrated with them. There was much inconvenience 
that winter (1823-24) about the scarcity of provisions. 

The government authorities ran the grist mill in a desultory 
way until 1849, when the property was purchased by Hon. Rob- 
ert Smith, of Illinois, for $750. He rented the grist mill to Cal- 



vin A. Tuttle, who operated it until about 1855. His advertise- 
ment, soliciting business, appeared in the St. Anthony Express 
of the date of May 31, 1851, as follows: 


The undersigned is now in readiness for grinding Corn, Rye, Oats, 
Peas, Buckwheat, and whatever else requires grinding, including Salt, at 
the grist-mill on the west side of the Mississippi river at St. Anthony, for 
lawful rates of toll. When desired, grists will be received at the. subscrib- 
er's on the east side of the river, and be returned ground at the same place. 

Calvin A. Tuttle. 

The following quotation is from the St. Paul Pioneer of 
February 13, 1850: 

The Government mill on the west side of the falls of St. Anthony, 
mentioned in Mr. Neill's historical address, is still there in a dilapidated 
condition, in charge of Mr. Bean, who is living there as a tenant of the 
honorable Robert Smith. It is the same mill in which the Grand Jury of 
this county held the first inquest last summer. 

The address referred to was delivered before the Minne- 
sota Historical Society, January 1, 1850. The reference to the 
mills is given in a supplement of this address, published in the 
Pioneer of February 13, 1850, as follows: "A quarter of a cen- 
tury ago, the United States had two mills in operation here, 
which were watched by a sergeant's guard." 

A week later, the Pioneer of February 20, 1850, devoted a 
column to an editorial description of St. Anthony, from which 
the following is an extract : 

The bluff . . . commands a beautiful view of the opposite shore, 
where is situated the grist mill, now in operation, built by the U. S. gov- 
ernment. This mill is under the superintendence of the Hon. Robert Smith, 
in charge of Mr. Bean; 4.000 bushels of corn have been ground at this 
mill during the present season for the Indian trade and inhabitants of Min- 
nesota, and about the same quantity remains to be ground ; there is a saw 
mill, in connection with this mill, which is undergoing repairs and will be 
in operation in the spring. It is situated on the west side of the river and 
.nearly opposite the Co. Mill 

August 20, 1849, Judge Bradley P». Meeker, associate judge 
of the Supreme Court of Minnesota Territory, held the first 
term of court for the second judicial district in one of these old 


government mills at the Falls of St. Anthony. Franklin Steele 
was foreman of the jury; and James M. Goodhue, editor of the 
St. Paul Pioneer, was one of the jurors. No business was 
transacted, but Goodhue's appreciation of the dinner served by 
Reuben Bean inspired an editorial in the next issue of his paper. 

The subsequent history of the old mills is soon told. The 
"town site company," so called, of which Robert Smith was the 
president, fitted up the saw mill, and, under the personal direc- 
tion of George E. Huey, operated it until 1855. The St. An- 
thony Express, February 18, 1854, contributed the following 
item : "It is said that Messrs. George E. Huey & Co., proprietors 
of the Minneapolis Mills, have added another saw to their mill. 
They have been quite successful in clearing the falls from pine 
logs." This saw mill was leased in 1855 to Leonard Day. After 
he had run it for about two years, it was sold to Thomas H. Per- 
kins and Smith Ferrand, and was operated by them as a grist mill 
until 1862, when Perkins and Crocker bought it. They named it 
the City Mill. 

In 1866, as Hon. James T. Wyman relates, the City Mill was 
sold to J. C. Berry and Co., who changed it into a merchant mill 
and operated it until 1875, when they sold it to Solon Armstrong 
and Co. This company ran it, producing a good quality of flour 
by the old method, until 1879, when it was destroyed by fire. 
Its destruction made the building of the Northwestern Flour 
Mill, by Sidle, Fletcher and Holmes, possible ; and that mill 
occupies today the site of the old government saw mill. 

The grist mill, which was situated about fifty feet to the rear 
and east of the saw mill, had been torn djwn within a few years 
after the lease to Mr. Day was made. When the Minneapolis 
paper mill was erected in 1866, at the foot of Seventh Avenue 
South, half of the site of the old government mill was occupied 
by that structure; and when the Northwestern Flour Mill was 
built, in 1879, a ^ traces of these old landmarks disappeared. 



The magnitude of the lumber industry of the St. Croix 
valley is almost beyond the comprehension of anyone who has not 
applied himself to a thorough study of the subject from every 
standpoint. Even the primitive logger of pioneer days had only 
a poor idea of the almost limitless timber resources of the district. 
As he plodded along farther and farther from the St. Croix, he 
beheld vast tracts of standing pine, but little did he realize that 
billions upon billions of timber would float down the St. Croix and 
its tributaries before the entire output should be exhausted, and 
that thousands upon thousands of men would for more than fifty 
years be engaged in preparing it for the market. 

Except in small tracts, little remains of the gigantic forests, 
the woodsman's axe and sweeping fires having devastated them; 
and many thousands of acres of land, formerly covered with a 
thick growth of timber, have been transtormed into beautiful 
farms, so that only history and memory remain as reminders of 
former conditions. 

• The lumber district of the St. Croix valley extends from 
township 29 north to township 49 north, and from range 5 west 
to range 26 west. The south line begins near Hudson, Wis., and 
extends north to the line of the Northern Pacific railway. The 
east and west line begins at range 5 west, near lake Namekagon 
and runs west to range 26 west, to the tributaries of Snake river. 
The shape of the district is that of a huge fan. The district 
covers eight thousand five hundred square miles, comprising five 
million four hundred and forty thousand acres, the major portion 

•Read at the DQOnthl] meeting of the Executive Council. April 11, 1901. 


of which was originally covered with a heavy growth of white 
and Norway pine timber. 

The St. Croix lumber district is traversed by the Chicago, 
St. Paul, Minneapolis and Omaha railway, from St. Paul and 
Minneapolis to Duluth, Superior, Washburn, and Ashland: the 
Northern Pacific railway from St. Paul and Minneapolis to 
Stillwater, to Taylors Falls, Grantsburg, Duluth, Superior, and 
Ashland ; the Great Northern railway, via the Eastern Minnesota 
line, from St. Paul and Minneapolis to Duluth and Superior; the 
"Soo railway from St. Paul and Minneapolis through the southern 
portion; and the Wisconsin Central through the extreme lower 

One of the important factors of the lumber business has 
been the lowering of freight rates on lumbermen's supplies. In 
the good old times, the hauling of supplies to the camps was a 
most expensive item. Then the cost was two dollars per hundred 
pounds. The rates for ten years past, by rail, have been from 
25 to 40 cents per hundred pounds. In the days of high freights 
logs sold in Stillwater at $6 to $9 per thousand feet. During the 
past year lumbermen have paid higher prices for standing timber 
than the logs sold for at Stillwater some years ago. At this 
writing logs vastly inferior in quality sell for $15 to $20 per thou- 
sand feet. 

In the early days the lumbermen would sometimes wait until 
midwinter for snow to haul logs, a load consisting of from two 
to five thousand feet, over a road from one to three miles in 
length. How great the change at this later day I Only cold 
weather is requisite for successful work. The logging road is cut 
wide and straight, two grooves are cut, and an ice track is formed 
with the early freezing. Although the logging road may be 
\from five to ten miles in length, loads of logs measuring from 
10,000 to 25,000 feet are hauled as a usu^.I thing. For the past 
five years snow has ceased to be an important factor for hauling 

The early history of lumbering has been a history of waste 
in all lumber districts. Probably the natural wasteage of timber 
incidental to the early history of cutting logs, supplemented by 
the terrific forest fires that always follow in the wake of the 
lumberman's axe. nearly if not quite equaled the quantity brought 
to market. 'Tis the same old story, " Plenty breeds waste." 


AlthouglT the pine timber has been cut and large areas of 
land have been swept by fire, the land itself has not suffered any 
deterioration. Scattered throughout this vast area, the camp and 
so-called hovel of the lumberman have disappeared, and the house 
and barn have taken the places they occupied ; the plow and har- 
row have been substituted for the axe and peevy ; and the thor- 
oughbred bull has taken the place of the cant-hook. Agriculture 
is soon to become the paramount interest. The retreating foot- 
steps of the lumbermen are being retraced by men and families 
seeking homes along the beautiful streams and lakes that thread 
what was once a magnificent forest of pine, in both Minnesota and 


Beyond any question the lumber district of the St. Croix 
possessed advantages unknown in any other lumbering locality. 
The lake and river St. Croix are for many miles the dividing line 
between the states of Minnesota and Wisconsin. The river St. 
Croix is the great artery fed by numerous tributaries taking rise 
in each state. Beginning at Hudson, Wis., the first tributary is 
Willow river, a large lumber stream. Next, six miles above Still- 
water, is Apple river, an important Wisconsin stream. Then come 
Wood river, Clam river, Yellow river, Loon creek; then the 
famous Namekagon river, with all its tributaries, noted as logging 
streams, namely, the Totogatic and Totogatic Oonce, Hay Creek. 
Chippenazy, Bean brook, Potato creek, Mosquito brook, and Big 
and Little Pucway Oonce ; and, highest of the eastern tributaries, 
the Eau Claire river and lakes. The beautiful Upper St. Croix 
lake, on the main stream a few miles below its farthest springs, 
lies near the watershed of the Great Lakes and the St. Croix. 
Moose river, noted for the superiority of its timber, Crotty 
brook, Rocky brook, and Chase's brook, join the St. Croix in 
Wisconsin from its northwest side, as one descends from the 
upper lake. 

On the Minnesota side of the St. Croix we have the Sunrise 
river as its lowest important tributary. About twenty miles 
farther up is the long and tortuous Kanabec or Snake river, with 
its numerous tributaries, namely Ground House, Ann. and Knife 


rivers, Snowshoe brook, Hay creek, Chesley brook, and Pokega- 
ma and Mission creeks. This stream has furnished a greater 
quantity of logs than any other stream of the district. Kettle 
river, beautiful with its falls, rocks, and rapids, has been an im- 
portant lumber stream, with its tributaries. Grindstone, Pine, Split 
Reck, Dead Moose, Moose Horn, Moose, and Willow rivers, w r ith 
numerous other small streams meandering through the pine for- 
ests of this region. Sand creek, a slight thread of water,, with an 
area of magnificent forest, has produced a greater number of logs 
tEan any similar sized stream tributary to the St. Croix. In the 
eastern part of Pine county are the Big and Little Tamarack 
rivers, Spruce river, and other small but important logging 

Probablv the David Tozer timber tract, on the Tamarack 
river, is one of the largest tracts of uncut timber now on the St. 
Croix waters. 

The state boundary line crosses the St. Croix in the south- 
west corner of township 42, range 15. The log supply of this dis- 
trict is about equally divided between the states of Minnesota and 


The first logs cut were by Joseph R. Brown on the Taylor's 
Falls flat in the winter of 1836 and 1837. The first regular outfit 
was that of John Boyce, who came with a Mackinaw boat from 
St. Louis with eleven men and six oxen, late in the fall of 1837. 
He located a camp at the mouth of the Kanabec or Snake river. 
A quantity of logs were cut, but trouble with the Indians, 
coupled with many difficulties in driving the winter cut of logs, 
discouraged Mr. Boyce to the extent that he abruptly closed his 
unsuccessful venture. 

In the spring of 1838. Franklin Steele formed a copartnership 
with Messrs. Fitch of Muscatine, Iowa, Libby of Alton. Illinois. 
Hungerford and Livingston of St. Louis, Mo., and Hill and 
Holcomb of Quincy, Illinois. This company chartered the 
steamer Palmyra, loaded the boat with sawmill machinery, se- 
cured a corps of mechanics, and began operations toward building 
a sawmill at the Falls of the St. Croix river, in the state of Wis- 


consin. The plans and operations of this company were beset 
by many and serious difficulties, yet they opened the lumber 
trade of the St. Croix valley, and, for a number of years, supplied 
the building material to the inhabitants of the states of Wisconsin, 
Iowa, Illinois, and Missouri, bordering on the Mississippi river, 
between the St. Croix river and St. Louis. 

The first rafts of lumber and logs taken from the St. Croix 
lumber district were owned and sent to market by this St. Croix 
Falls Lumber Company. Up to the spring of 1843 tne shipments 
of this company consisted solely of sawed lumber, lath, and 
shingles. The high water of that spring caused the company's 
boom to give way, and the entire stock of logs was carried 
clown the St. Croix river. The men who had worked in the 
woods followed the logs to Stillwater. John McKusick was 
placed in charge of the logs and collected enough to make four 
rafts of five hundred thousand feet each. Two of the rafts were 
placed in charge of Stephen B. Hanks, who can justly lay claim 
to being the first man to pilot a raft of logs from the St. Croix riv- 
er to St. Louis. Mr. Hanks employed Severe Bruce to run one of 
the rafts in his charge. One raft was in charge of James McPhail, 
and one raft was in charge of William Ganley. The logs were 
sold to West & Vandeventer and a portion of them to Clark & 
Child. The Mr. Clark referred to is W. G. Clark, who continued 
in the sawmill business for many years and is now a resident of 

The breaking of a log boom at the time mentioned was a 
serious drawback to the lumber interest of the St. Croix valley, 
yet it was the beginning of a commerce aggregating many mil- 
lions of dollars. It marked a new era. The first four rafts that 
passed down the St. Croix and Mississippi were the advance 
guard of many thousand that have followed them during two- 
thirds of a century since the industry was inaugurated. 


After disposing of his share of the logs above mentioned, 
John McKusick purchased, with the proceeds, a full outfit of 
machinery for an overshot water- wheel mill to he erected at a 
site which is now the city of Stillwater. On his return from St. 


Louis he associated himself with Elias McKean, Elam Greeley, 
* Jacob Fisher, and Calvin F. Leach. They formed a copartner- 
ship, and proceeded to build a sawmill. The mill began sawing 
lumber April 3, 1844. It was managed successfully for twenty 
years, when the two up and down saws, ''The fiddler and the 
dancing master," gave way to more improved methods and ma- 
chinery. The site of this mill is one thousand feet inland from 
the former log way. 

The first St. Croix sawmill was built and in operation in 
1838 at Marine. The site was selected, and the mill was built 
and began sawing, within a space of ninety days. The Marine 
Lumber Company consisted of Lewis George, Albert Judd, 
Orange Walker, Asa Parker, Samuel Burkleo, and Hiram 
Berkey. This mill continued in operation for over fifty years, 
and during the last ten years of its existence was managed by 
the late firm of Anderson & O'Brien. 

Connected with this mill is a reminiscence that is of interest 
to the citizens of our capital city. In the winter of 1840 and 1841, 
the citizens of St. Paul decided to build 3 Catholic church. The 
plans and specifications were placed in the hands of Joseph 
Labissonniere. They contemplated a structure 18 feet in width, 
and 24 feet in length ; height of the sides, 10 feet ; the roof to 
overhang two feet and to be made of Norway pine slabs, 12 
inches in width, each slab to be fastened by six wooden pins. The 
main structure was to be built of logs cut in the vicinity of the 
church. (This church stood on Bench street, somewhere in the 
rear of the old Mannheimer building on Third street.) The only 
nails to be used were such as might be necessary for the doors. 
The village blacksmith wa:- ( to make the nails and hinges for the 
doors. In the fall of 1840 a small steamboat, the St. Anthony, 
commanded by Count Haraszthy, a Hungarian nobleman, was 
compelled to remain at St. Paul all winter, being unable to get 
away before the close of navigation. The importance of building 
the church was the all-absorbing topic daring the winter. The 
count became interested and volunteered to go up the St. Croix 
with his steamboat the next spring and bring the slabs, if the 
people of St. Paul would furnish two men to load and unload. 
Thereupon Isaac Labissonniere and Raphael Lessner thanked the 
count for the courtesy extended and made the trip lUCCessfulfy 


by securing the slabs, as Labissonniere said, "Free gratis for 
nothing." Thus it will be seen that the St. Croix people took an 
early interest and a substantial part in Christianizing St. Paul. 

The Aicola mills were built in the winter of 1846 and 1847 
by Martin Mower, David B. Loomis, W. H. C. Folsom, and 
Joseph Brewster. Subsequently the capacity was largely in- 
creased and the mills became the property of Martin and John 
E. Mower, who operated them successfully for a number of 

The Franconia mill was built by Clark Brothers and Ansel 
Smith. The career of the mill was varied and brief. 

The Osceola mill was built and began sawing in 1845. The 
company owning the mill consisted of Messrs. M. V. and W. H. 
Nobles, William Kent, William C. Mahony, and Harvey Walker. 

The first mill at Hudson, Wis., was built in 1850, and was 
known as the Purington mill. After a varied career it was des- 
troyed by fire. In 1883 a new and modern mill was built by 
the Hudson Lumber Company. This mill is one of the successful 
ones and is today one of the prominent mills of the St. Croix 
valley. As nearly as can be estimated, the lumber cut at Fludson 
has amounted to about 400,000,000 feet. 

The mill history of Lakeland begins with the time when 
Moses Perrin built and began operating a sawmill in 1854. 
Ballard & Reynolds erected a mill in 1857. The financial panic 
in 1857 wound up the business affairs of both mills. Later on, 
C. N. Nelson came into possession of the Ballard & Watson mill. 
He added to its size and capacity, thus making it a successful 
business venture. Later on, Messrs. Fall & McCoy built a mill 
at Lakeland, which, although of medium capacity, was by good 
management made a profitable investment. At this writing 
these mills have been dismantled of their machinery, and the 
buildings have been removed. 

THe Afton sawmill was built by Lowry & Co. in 1854. re- 
built in 1855 by Thomas & Sons, and succumbed to the hard 
times of 1857. Getchell Brothers built their mill in 1861, which, 
although a small mill, to use a Maine expression, was a "smart 
one." Destruction by fire was the closing scene in its history. 

The Glenmont saw mill was built by Olds & Lord in 1 S 5 7 . 
It was subsequently purchased by Gillespie & Harper, and WIS 
destroyed by fire sonic years since. 


The Point Douglas mill was built by A. J. Short, and began 
sawing on May 15, 1867. Later Mr. Short sold a half interest in 
this mill to David Cover. In 1869 Mr. Gardner purchased the 
Cover interest, and subsequently he purchased the interest held 
by Mr. Short. This entire property was later purchased by the 
veteran lumberman, John Dudley, who always made a success 
of his investments. 

The Prescott sawmill was built by Messrs. Silverthorn & 
Dudley in 1856. Mr. Dudley became the sole owner in 1861. 
This mill continued to manufacture lumber until the early nine- 


The Rust-Owen Company mill at Drummond, Wis., situated 
on the headwaters of the Namekagon river, is a great mill, with 
the most improved modern machinery and facilities for handling 
and sawing lumber. It was erected in 1882 by a corporation styled 
and known as the Drummond Lumber Company. John S. Owen 
was the president; F. H. Drummond, vice president; and R. E. 
Rust, secretary and treasurer. Later, Mr. F. W. Gilchrist became 
president, and A. J. Rust secretary and treasurer. The lumber 
cut of this company's mill foots up to 475,000,000 feet, including 
lath and shingles. The company has a large tract of pine, and 
will continue to saw for several years to come. 

The Shell Lake Lumber Company's mill is located on the 
headwaters of Yellow river. It was constructed and began saw- 
ing in 1 88 1, with one gang and one circular saw. In 1883 tne 
mill was finally completed, the outfit consisting of two gangs and 
two circular saws. This mill was owned and managed 
by Messrs. Weyerhaeuser & Denckmann of Rock Island, Illi- 
nois, Lamb & Sons of Clinton, Iowa, and Messrs, Laird, Norton 
& Co., of Winona. The officers were L. Lamb, president ; G. E. 
Lamb, vice president, both of Clinton, Iowa; F. Weyerhaeuser, 
secretary and treasurer, Rock Island, 111. ; W. R Bourne, mana- 
ger> Shell Lake, Wis. The company was organized and began 
the erection of the mill in October, 1880. The mill began sawing 
in the fall of 18S1 with one gang and one circular saw. It was 
subsequently enlarged to double capacity. The great plant 


ceased work in September, 1902. The last product of its cut was 
sold in September, 1903. Including lath and shingles, its cut was 
550,000,000 feet. 

The Barronnett Lumber Company's mill at Barronnett, Wis., 
was built and managed by the corporation which built and 
managed the Shell Lake Company's mill. This mill was erected 
and began sawing, March, 1881, and was in operation up to 
September 1, 1894, when the entire property was totally obliter- 
ated by fire. The lumber cut of this mill was 165,000,000 feet. 

The Beaver Dam Lumber Company, the Cumberland Lum- 
ber Company, and the Beaver^ Lake Lumber Company, at Cum- 
berland, Wis., three corporations, were managed by the follow- 
ing: C. W. Griggs, president; A. G. Foster, vice president; F. 
W. Mills, treasurer; and F. L. Olcutt, secretary. The saws of 
the Cumberland Lumber Company cut 7,000,000 feet of lumber 
during the season of 1881. The Beaver Lake Lumber Company 
during the period from 1882 to 1888 cut 135,000,000 feet, and the 
Beaver Dam Lumber Company cut 170,000,000 feet from 1888 to 
1893, making a total of 312,000,000 feet. 

The sawmill at New Richmond, Wis., was built in 18S0 and 
owned by John E. Glover & Co. This mill has been in constant 
operation, and is fully employed at the present time. It has a 
large capacity, has cut two hundred and fifty million feet of 
lumber, and has standing timber for many years to come. 

The sawmill at Clear Lake, Wis., under the ownership of 
John E. Glover & Co., has cut about 150,000,000 feet of lumber 
up to the present time. 

The mill at Jewett's Falls, Wis., was built by Mr. Jewett. It 
was in operation some ten years, cutting about 70,000,000 feet of 
lumber. It was abandoned many years ago. 

A number of sawmills of small capacity were cutting lum- 
ber at an early day, but little information can be obtained regard- 
ing them. Joseph Barron had a mill at Barron, Wis., that cut 
probably ten million feet. Mr. Woodville had a mill at Wood- 
ville, Wis. It was an active mill, situated in a timber vicinity. 
The estimated cut of the mill is 75,000.000 feet. 

There was a small mill at Amcry, Wis., in early days, but 
the writer was unable to gain any information as to the amount 
of its cut. 


Somerset, Wis., was the abode of the redoubtable Gen. 
Samuel Harriman. From the the best information obtainable the 
mill at that point was built in the 50% and probably cut some 
fifty million feet of lumber. 

The mill at Hinckley, Minn., originated with Thomas Bren- 
nan, who built and equipped it, and established retail lumber 
yards in St. Paul and elsewhere. Mr. Brennan disposed of this 
property in 1889 to a corporation composed of the following well 
known lumbermen: Messrs. W. A. Rust, John S. Owen, Henry 
D. Davis, H. C. Putnam, and E. B. Putnam, all of Eau Gaire, 
Wis. The management of this company was with John S. Owen, 
president ; H. D. Davis, vice president and general manager ; 
and E. B. Putnam, secretary and treasurer. Immediately after 
the purchase, the mill was destroyed by fire in 1889. Steps were 
at once taken to build a new mill with largely increased capacity. 
The new mill was in active operation when the memorable Hinck- 
ley fire destroyed the entire property, including thirty million feet 
of lumber in pile, besides a large body of standing timber. Some 
fifteen million feet of logs, that escaped the fire by being in the 
flowage of the Grindstone river, were taken to Stillwater to be 
sawed at the Atwood mills. The cut of the Hinckley mills was 
about 175,000,000 feet. 

The Atwood Lumber Company, owning a mill at Willow 
River, Minn., was organized in 1895, the company purchasing 
the timber holdings and other interests of the Fox & Wisdom 
Lumber Company. The extensive improvement made to this 
property has made it thoroughly a first-class modern sawmill, 
with planing mills, and all necessary accessories for any demand 
that may arise for the lumber product. The yearly cut of this 
mill has been thirty million feet. The officers are Frederick 
Weyerhaeuser, president; George H. Atwood, secretary and 
general manager; and William Sauntry, treasurer. 

The Rutledge Lumber and Manufacturing Company, at 
Rutledge, Minn., was organized in 189 1, with A. Rutledge, presi- 
dent; William Sauntry, vice president; J. D. McCormack, secre- 
tary and general manager. This organization began logging 
operations and built the sawmill on Pine river, at a point one- 
half mile from Kettle River falls, in the fall and winter of 1801. 
The mill began sawing in June, 1892. The mill has been in 


operation continuously since that time, and will finish up No- 
vember I, 1904. With the logs they have on hand the product 
of this mill will be two hundred million feet of lumber, and then 
the milling industry in that part of the country will be a pan of 
the history of the past. 


Sawyer & Heaton built a sawmill at Stillwater in 1S50, 
which was destroyed by fire in 1852. A new and improved mill 
was immediately erected by Messrs. Sawyer & Heaton. This 
mill, after passing through several ownerships, became the prop- 
erty of Samuel Atlee & Co., and later on was purchased by Isaac 
Staples. It was managed by him for several years, until the 
location was sold to be used for other business purposes. 

The Schulenburg-Boeckler Company was organized in 1856 
by Frederick Schulenburg, A. Boeckler, and Louis Hospes. In 
1887 Mr. Hospes retired, and his son, Hon. E. L. Hospes, be- 
came a partner in the firm. This mill for many years was the 
most important saw mill of the Northwest. Some years later the 
firm was dissolved. The mill became the property of Isaac 
Staples, E. L. Hospes, and Samuel Atlee, which firm was suc- 
ceeded by George H. Atwood, who became sole proprietor, and 
has increased the mill's capacity from thirty-five to forty-eight 
million feet of lumber annually, besides a large output of lath and 

In 1873, Seymour, Sabin & Co. built a mill of medium 
capacity, which subsequently became the property of the C. X. 
Nelson Company. After several years this mill was dismantled, 
and the machinery taken elsewhere. 

In the year 1854, the firm of Hersev, Staples & Co. built a 
sawmill of large capacity, which was owned and managed by 
them for many years. In 1871 it became the property of Horsey, 
Bean & Co. and later, in 1892, came under the management of 
George H. Atwood, since which time it has cut 500.000,000 feet 
of lumber, with a corresponding ratio of lath and shingles. 

The East Side Lumber Company was incorporated in iSSS. 
The original stockholders were John G. Nelson, Alex. Johnson, 
Robert Slaughter, David Bronson and E. A. Folsom, who pur- 


chased the mill property of Nelson & Johnson in the town of 
Houlton, Wisconsin, opposite Stillwater. The first officers of 
this company were David Bronson, president; John G. Xelson, 
vice president; E. A. Folsom, secretary and treasurer; and 
Robert Slaughter, general manager. During the year 1902 a half 
interest in the stock, held by Nelson & Johnson, was transferred 
to James D. and Roscoe H. Bronson. The following named gen- 
tlemen were elected officers : David Bronson, president ; E. A. 
Folsom, vice president; James D. Bronson, secretary and treas- 
urer; and Robert Slaughter, general manager. The mill oper- 
ates one gang with a capacity of 150,000 feet per day, and one 
twin circular lath and shingle mill. 

The St. Croix Lumber Company's mill was built in 1854, and 
was a total loss by fire in 1876. Mr. L. E. Torinus, in no wise 
discouraged, immediately took steps to and did erect an entirely 
new mill with much greater capacity than the old mill. The 
original corporation was formed by Messrs. L. E. Torinus, Will- 
iam Chalmers, Andrew Schow, and William Graves. Later, 
after the death of Mr. Torinus and the withdrawal of Messrs. 
Schow and Graves, the new corporation was formed by William 
Chalmers, Mrs. H. M. Torinus, L. E. Torinus, G. S. Welshons, 
and Martin Torinus. Within the past few years one of the com- 
pany's mills was sold to the Eclipse Lumber Company, and one 
to Messrs. Tozer & Nolan. The St. Croix Lumber Company still 
retained the extensive wood-working factory, a large establish- 

Some years prior to 1870, Messrs. L. B. Castle and David 
C. Gaslin built a mill at South Stillwater. Later Mr. Castle dis- 
posed of his interest. At a later date, Messrs. Durant & Wheeler 
effected an arrangement with Mr. Gaslin to run the mill. Subse- 
quently Mr. Gaslin retired from the company, Mr. Smith Ellison 
taking his interest. The corporation then assumed the name 
of Ellison & Co. Later, by reason of some change of ownership, 
the property became known as the South Stillwater Lumber Com- 
pany, which corporation later disposed of the entire property to 
David Tozer, who has since made many and expensive improve- 
ments, resulting in its being one of the very best mills in the St. 
Croix valley. The improvements were based on the fact that 
Mr. Tozer has sufficient pine to supply his mill for manv years 
to come. 



The Hershey Lumber Company's mill was erected in 1875. 
It is designated as "the red mill." Mr. Benjamin Hershey was 
the first president of the company, and so remained until 
his death in 1893, since which time the management has been in 
charge of Mr. Hugh D. Campbell, who, with his large experience 
in all that pertains to logs and lumber, has rendered the business 
affairs of the company a pronounced success. With a crew of 
no men, the annual cut of the mill has averaged 25,000,000 
feet of lumber. 

The sawmill of R. W. Turnbull and A, R. Turnbull was 
built by these gentlemen in 1886. It has since been in continu- 
ous operation, giving employment daily during the summer to 
125 men. The capacity of this mill is from 25,000,000 to 35,000,- 
000 feet annually. Their shipments of lumber by water are very 
large, amounting to about four million feet of lumber, besides 
lath and shingles, in a single shipment. 

The Eclipse Sawmill Company, at South Stillwater, was or- 
ganized in 1 901, being the successor of the St. Croix Lumber 
Company, having purchased one of that company's mills. This 
organization, by action of its board of directors, elected William 
Kaiser ; president; H. D. Campbell, vice president; A. A. Ewart, 
secretary and treasurer; and I. L. Skeith, superintendent. This 
mill gives employment to 125 men, and has a capacity of 30,000,- 
000 feet. 

The John Martin Lumber Company had a mill situated at 
Mission Creek, Minn. This mill was operated successfully for a 
number of years by Captain John Martin. I have been unable to 
gain any information as to its time of erection, or length of time 
in operation, but have approximated the cut at 100,000,000 feet. 


The first sawmills at St. Louis to cut St. Croix pine logs 
were those of West & Van Deventer and Clark & Quids. Their 
mills enjoyed the distinction of being the first pine mills on the 
Mississippi river. This was in 1844, when they purchased four 
rafts that had broken through the boom of the St. Croix Falls 
Lumber Company. Previous to the date mentioned, St. Louis 
depended on lumber brought in boats and barges from the 


Ohio river, with the exception of small supplies received in rafts 
from the Chippewa, Black, and St. Croix rivers. Later on, St. 
Loui? became a large buyer of logs and lumber from all the 
lumbering districts of the upper Mississippi. 


First on the list of pioneer lumbermen is Joseph R. Brown, 
who operated first in 1836 and 1837. The first regular outfit 
for cutting was owned by John Boyce. He came here in the 
fall of 1837 with eleven men and six oxen. His logging opera- 
tions were at the mouth of the Snake river. Later on came 
Andrew Mackey, Smith Ellison, Patrick Fox, John McKusick, 
W. H. C. Folsom, Taylor & Fox, the Kent brothers, William 
O. Mahony, the -Marine Lumber Company, the Stillwater Mill 
Company, Elias McKean, Calvin Leach, Samuei Burkleo, Jacob 
Fisher, Martin and John E. Mower, Stephen B. Hanks, A. M. 
Chase, Daniel Mears, C. G. Bradley, William McKusick, J. S. 
Anderson, Asa Parker, Hiram Berkey, John D. Ludden, Blake 
& Greeley, Sawyer & Heaton, John J. Robertson, Joseph W. 
Furber, James Spencer, James Casey, John O'Brien, Samuel 
Register, the St. Croix Falls Lumber Company, Thomas Dunn, 
Andrew Clendening, George Moore, Hugh Burns, James Roney, 
and David Tozer. 

Fifty years ago, in 1854, Mr. Tozer began lumbering, is 
with us now, and is cutting more logs snd lumber each year. 
He says it is too big a task to go up and look at his timber, 
but he is willing to wait for the logs to come and see him. 
L. E. Torinus died many years ago, but left an open pathway for 
the success of his sons. 

Others were C. N. Nelson and Isaac Staples, who, with east- 
ern associates, were the first large purchasers of pine lands 
and the earliest to begin lumbering on a large scale; Durant and 
Wheeler, who were largely interested in lumbering and steam- 
boats; Henry McLane, who for fifty years has been on the St. 
Croix and spends his entire time in the woods, always finding B 
chance to cut a few more logs; David Cover, who passed away 
after an active and busy life; James and Robert Malloy ; the 
late cx-Scnator J. S. O'Brien; David C. Gaslin; David Carmich- 


ael; Patrick and Jerry Whalen; John Haggerty; James and 
Fred Pennington ; and Knight and Grover, who were killed by 
the Indians in 1863. I think that was the only instance of lum- 
bermen meeting death at the hands of the Indians. Death 
speedily overtook the Indians, and they are now good. 

C. G. Bradley, William Blanding, Henry Hanscomb, Samuel 
Judd, William Veasey, Sven Magnuson, Charles Bean, Jacob 
Bean, William, John, and Jotham Lowell, Moses and Benttey Tut- 
tle, Charles McMillan, William Chalmers, Captain Page, R. C. 
Libby, John E. Glover, John Dudley, Ludden and Greeley, 
Samuel Harriman, William Clark & Brother, Clark & McRea, 
John Holt, L. F. Olds, David Lord, C. S. Getchell, Mahlon 
Black, Frederick Lammers, Daniel Mears, McComb, Simpson 
& Anderson, Andrew McGrath, Short, Proctor & Co., John and 
William Fisher, John Calvin, John Little, James Mulvey, Henry 
Jackman, Charles Gardner, and Philip McDermott, complete the 

The lumbering today is limited, in comparison with former 
years. The men who are now most largely engaged in cutting 
logs are Mulvey & Son, Samuel McClure, James McGrath, 
George and A. J. Lammers, William O'Brien, Donovan & Stack, 
Richard Welch, John G. Nelson, M'usser, Sauntry & Co., William 
Sauntry, Eugene and James O'Neal, Otis Staples, James and 
John Crotty, Irvine & Kolliner, Edwin St. John, Bronson & 
Folsom, David Connors, Edward Barnes, and a few others. 


In the autumn of 1856 Messrs. E. S. & A. B. Youmans erect- 
ed a sawmill in Winona. In common with other mills of that 
date, it had the regulation muley saw. In 1877 and 1878 the 
mill's capacity was increased by the addition of a gang. About 
this time the firm was incorporated as Youmans Brothers & Hodg- 
kins. In 1887 and 1888 the mill's capacity was again enlarged by 
the substitution of three gangs instead of one. This mill was in 
active operation until 1898, when it was shut down and dis- 

In 1855 Laird Brothers were engaged in handling sawed 


lumber from the Chippewa river. In October, 1856, this firm 
was changed to Laird, Norton & Co. They built their first mill 
in 1857. It consisted of one muley and one circular saw. The 
sawing capacity was subsequently enlarged by substituting two 
circulars for the muley and small circular. In 1878 the old mill 
was taken down and replaced by a new mill with modern machin- 
ery, including two gangs. This mill was destroyed by fire in 
June, 1887, and was immediately replaced by the present mill, 
which cuts thirty-five to forty million feet of lumber annually. 
Their mills have virtually run continuously since 1857 to the 
present time. 

The Winona Lumber Company began business in 1881. Its 
career was inaugurated by the construction of a mill with two 
circulars and two gangs. The circulars were taken out and re- 
placed by band saws, giving their mill a capacity of thirty- 
five to forty million feet annually. The mill has been in active 
operation since 1881, but for the past four years only the two 
band saws have been operated. 

The Empire Lumber Company of Winona began the erection 
of its first mill in the winter of 1886-7. The machinery was 
.brought from Eau Claire, a scarcity of logs there having changed 
the location to Winona. This mill likewise has an annual capaci- 
ty of thirty-five to forty million feet, and has been sawing 
steadily since it was built. 

The first three sawmills at Moline, 111., were built in 1845 
and 1846. They were water-power mills, and cut native timber. 
Dimmock, Gould & Co. purchased a raft of pine logs from W. H. 
C. Folsom in 1855, which were cut by a water-power mill and 
were used for making tubs and pails. Keator & Skinner built a 
steam sawmill there in 1858 and 1859, which cut St. Croix pine 

Bailey & Boyle built a sawmill at Rock Island, in their boat 
yard, which was used for the purpose of sawing timber for the 
Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific railroad in 1S50. They sawed 
St. Croix logs. They were crowded out of their location in 
1853 by that railroad, and rebuilt in the same year on the site 
now occupied by Weyerhaeuser & Denckmann for sawmill pur- 
poses, who bought the property in 1859 or i860 and have steadily 
increased the plant's capacity. This mill was the initial step to- 


ward the throne now held by the lumber king, Frederick Weyer- 

The first sawmill at Muscatine, Iowa, was a primitive affair 
and was erected in 1837. In 1843-44, a mill was built there 
by Cornelius Cable. In 1858 the mill was sold to Chambers 
Brothers. They enlarged this mill, and later built a steam 
sawmill. The two mills had a combined capacity of twenty 
million feet annually. They were operated until 1874, -when 
the larger mill was burned. The property was sold in 1S80 to 
a Mr. Dessaint, who in 1881 again sold it to the Muscatine Lum- 
ber Company. They enlarged it to a capacity of 25,000,000 feet 
annually. The natural enemy of sawmills overtook it in 1886, 
leaving it in ashes. 

In 1852 Mr. Jacob Hershey laid the foundation of the great 
Hershey Lumber Company. Mr. Benjamin Hershey came into 
possession of the property in 1853. His restless genius contrived 
and carried out year by year many new and valuable adjuncts, 
which made the Hershey sawmill celebrated as not only a modern 
mill, but a model one. Mr. Hershey has passed away, the mill 
has been dismantled, but the memories of the eccentricities of 
Ben Hershey still remain with those who knew him. 

In the late seventies U. N. Burdick built a mill at South 
Muscatine, and later it was sold to Ben Hershey, who operated 
it until 1893, when it was sold to Mr. John Kaiser. It is operated 
by the South Muscatine Lumber Company, and has an annual 
capacity of 25,000,000 feet. 

The Musser Lumber Company in 1870 built a mill at South 
Muscatine. In 1880 the mill was enlarged and improved by ad- 
ding machinery, which increased the output. Its annual output 
is 40,000,000 feet. This mill has constantlv been in active opera- 
tion. The Musser Lumber Company is largely interested in 
many lumber and logging concerns on the St. Croix, being large- 
ly interested in the Musser and Sauntry timber holdings. 
1 In 1848 a sawmill outfit was brought to Davenport, Iowa, 
from the Wisconsin river. The mill was managed by several 
owners until 1857, when it was burned. 

In 1849 a A * r - Howard erected a mill at Davenport and sold 
it to Alex. McGregor, who in turn sold it to John Cannon. Later 
the firm was French & Cannon, succeeded by French & Davis. 


It is now the property of Paige, Dixon & Co., and has, I think, 
discontinued sawing. 

In 1849 Strong Burnett built a saw and planing mill at 
Davenport. In 185 1 S. S. Gillett and J. H. Lambright became 
interested in the business. The firm was successful and did a 
large business in the pineries. The panic of 1857 was fatal, oblig- 
ing them to close up its affairs. In 1865 the mill became the 
property of Dessaint & Schraver and so remains, cutting' 13,000,- 
000 feet annually. 

The Renwick mill was built there in 1854 and was operated 
by Renwick & Son very successfully. It was under the manage- 
ment of Renwick, Shaw & Crossett. The capacity of the mill 
was 14,000,000 feet annually. 

Lindsey & Phelps erected their mill at Davenport in 1864, 
and it has been in constant operation. The mill has been a 
thorough success. Mr. John Phelps has passed from life's cares 
and duties, but the work he assisted in planning is being carried 
on by Mr. J. E. Lindsey, the surviving partner, who, at the age 
of seventy-eight years has apparently retained the physical and 
mental vigor requisite for the management of a large and in- 
creasing business. Mr. Lindsey is one of the few of the old time 
lumbermen that made up the lumber history of Minnesota and 
Wisconsin, who continues at the helm. 

In 1868 Mr. L. C. Dessaint built a mill at East Davenport. 
In 1874 the mill came into the possession of George W. Cable. 
In 1879 the Cable Lumber Company was formed and continues to 
the present time. The company for many years past has been 
largely interested in St. Croix timber lands and logs. 

The Taber Lumber Company of Keokuk is largely engaged 
in cutting St. Croix logs in its mills, and the company has in the 
past twenty-five years been a large buyer in Stillwater. 

The Carson, Rand, and Burlington Lumber Companies have 
for many years depended on the St. Croix market for filling spe- 
cial orders for large bridge and railroad timbers. 

Zimmerman & Ives of Guttenberg, Dorchester & Hughey of 
Bellevue, the Standard Lumber Company of Dubuque, the Gen 
City Mill Company of Quincy, 111., six large concerns at St. 
Louis, and many other smaller concerns on the Mississippi, pro- 
cured their stock chiefly from the St. Croix. 



In the.- early days of lumbering on the St. Croix a raft con- 
tained some 500,000 feet of logs or lumber. The methods in 
vogue for getting these commodities to market were crude and 
exceedingly laborious, attended with more or less uncertainty. 
The first rafts taken out were taken through lakes St. Croix and 
Pepin by means of sails, if the wind proved to be fair, the sails 
being made by standing the shanty boards on end and tying 
blankets on poles in such a manner that they would catch the 
breeze. In calm weather, along a sandy beach, all hands went on 
shore, and pulled the raft by a hand line. This method was call- 
ed cordelling, and two to four miles a day of sixteen hours was 
' an average day's work. Sometimes, when cordelling was im- 
practicable, two thousand feet of line was laid ahead with an 
anchor and warped in by hand. 

Fearing storms, the men continued this work day and night 
as long as they could stand it to work without sleep. Now and 
then some passing boat bound down stream would take the rafts 
into tow. Captain R. S. Harris of the Otter and later the War 
Eagle, gave the rafts a tow at so much per hour, I think $15. The 
raft pilots were willing to pay any price to hurry through the 
raftman's dread, lake Pepin. The writer well remembers seeing 
the west shore of lake Pepin, from Lake City to Read's Landing, 
white from broken lumber, when three lumber rafts were broken 
to pieces and rendered entirely valueless in a storm, the breakup 
resulting in the loss of many thousands of dollars to the pilots 
and owners of the lumber. 

Early in the 50's the lumber trade of the St. Croix assumed 
a commercial importance, sufficient to place towboats on lake St. 
Croix and lake Pepin, to tow rafts through the lakes mentioned. 
The Caleb Cape, in 185 1, was the first towboat so engaged. The 
regular charge for taking a raft from Stillwater to Read's Land- 
ing, at the foot of Lake Pepin, was $10 per string, rafts at that 
time containing eight to ten strings. A string was a row of lum- 
ber in cribs and was 500 feet in length. A string of logs consist- 
ed of a row of logs six to eight logs wide, bound together with 
poles fastened to the logs by boring two auger holes, one on each 
side of the pole, by which a small oak hook, called a lock-down, 



was placed over the pole, the two ends of the lock-down being 
inserted in the auger holes and fastened with plugs. The log and 
lumber strings were of the same length, each being sixteen feet 

At that period the rafts were managed by large oars some 
forty-five feet long, one oar being placed on each end of a string 
of logs or lumber. With a man at each oar the raft was guided 
to its destination. The older pilots became very expert in the 
matter of handling their unwieldly crafts, and became thoroughly 
conversant with all the obstacles of navigation on the great 
stretch of the river, 800 miles, intervening between Stillwater and 
St. Louis, so that raft after raft was taken to its destination intact 
as when it started on the long and apparently never ending jour- 
ney. In my opinion, the knowledge and skill of the steamboat 
and raft pilots, considering the length of the stream traversed, the 
then condition of the Mississippi river, unimproved, before gov- 
ernment lights were placed for the guidance of the pilot, the vast 
number of boats, and the large number of rafts then passing 
down the river, are without a parallel in the history of navigation. 
Dark nights were no obstacle, and only the lack of sufficient 
water to float the craft interfered with the commerce of the upper 

Oh, the good old times from 1852 to the fatal September 
v of 1857! Wages for raft and steamboat pilots were from $300 to 
$500 per month, and pilots were frequently engaged by contract 
for the entire season of navigation. Those were the days of huge 
gold watch chains, and of velvet on coat collars and cuffs. When 
ladies visited the pilot-house, the pilot donned kid gloves. The 
windows of the pilot-house were ornamented with the signature 
and address of many fair visitors. Possibly a reminiscent mood 
may recall this part of our early history to the memory of some of 
the grandmothers of the present day. 

The costume dc rigucur of the raft pilot was French calf 
boots, black cassimere trousers, red flannel shirt of extra fine 
knitted goods, a large black silk necktie, tied in a square knot 
with flowing ends, and a soft, wide-brimmed black or white hat. 
Owing to the infrequent visits of ladies, the kid gloves were dis- 
pensed with. The steamboat pilots were always on the watch 
upstream for their friends, the raft pilots, to throw them a pack- 



age of late newspapers, supplemented by the spirit dispenser's 
compliments in one or more bottles or demijohns. 

Soon a new order of things began in the history of lumbering. 
Tn the 6o's Captain C. G. Bradley undertook and made a suc- 
cessful trip by towing a raft with the steamboat Minnie Wills, to 
Clinton, Iowa. This system of taking logs and lumber to market 
increased rapidly, and within four years the logs heretofore rafted 
were "put up," as the saying is, in "brails," not using the former 
method of poles, plugs, lock-downs, and oars. Logs were placed 
in booms 600 feet in length or longer, and 125 feet in width, held 
together with cross lines. The gain to the log men was the les- 
sening of expense in putting the logs in condition for the run to 
market, and to mill men the saving in lumber by not having the 
auger holes in the logs. Since the first venture of the Minnie 
Wills, with the new method of running logs and lumber, more 
than a hundred and fifty steamboats have been engaged in taking 
the lumber product of the St. Croix, upper Mississippi, Chippewa, 
and Black rivers to the various distributing points along the Mis- 
sissippi river. 

The principal distributing points were as follows (the rail- 
way systems having changed the situation so that they now take 
the lumber from more northerly localities) : Red Wing, Waba- 
sha, Winona, La Crosse, McGregor, Guttenberg, Dubuque, Belle- 
vue, Savanna, Galena, Fulton, Lyons, Clinton, Moline, Rock 
Island, Davenport, Muscatine, Burlington, Fort Madison, Keiths- 
burg, Oquawka, Montrose, Keokuk, Canton, Quincy, Hannibal, 
Louisiana, Alton, and St. Louis. 

A small quantity of lumber was taken to Memphis during 
the war. The raft was run by Captain David Hanks. Notwith- 
standing that it was a raft, and not a gunboat, members of the 
crew were made targets by the guerrillas on shore; but the rait 
and crew escaped and reached Memphis. 

The first raft boats cost possibly $3,000, but since the advent 
of the Minnie Wills the large sawmill rirms have placed in the 
towing business boats of greater cost, power, and speed, than the 
average upper Mississippi packets of earlv davs. Some of these 
boats have taken rafts from Stillwater containing 5,400,000 feet 
of lumber, heavily laden with lath, shingles, and pickets, a cargo 
valued at $60,000. 



First on the list of pilots, and now in good health, is Capt. 
Stephen B. Hanks of Albany, 111., who began his career in 1841. 
Others were William Ganley, Phineas O. Lawrence, James Mc- 
Phail, Nelson Allen, now of Minneapolis, Edward Whiting, 
Severe Bruce, Patrick Fox, who made one or two trips, Pem- 
broke Herold, David Hanks, Daniel Davidson, Aaron, -George, 
and Mahlon Winans, David and John Wray, Edwin Efner, E. 
W. Durant, Wiley F^enney, Samuel Hanks, John Hanford, W. A. 
Payne, John Gabriel, Samuel Register, George Penney, Joseph 
Perro, familiarly known as Big Joe, George Brassar, D. Mc- 
Donald, H. L. Peevy, Robert Dodds, Hiram Cobb, William Dorr, 
Charles and Stephen Rhoads, Peter Carlton, Aug. Barlow, 
Samuel Macey, William Elliott, C. G. Bradlev, R. J. Wheeler, 
Harry Wheeler, Ed. Root, Alfred and Thomas Withrow, William 
and James Whistler, John Goodnow, Joe Denvier, Frank Wild, 
George Wallace, Charles Short, A. M. Short, A. L. Short, Loam 
Short, H. Short, L. A. Day, L. A. Day, Jr., John McCaffrey, 
James Hugunin, Cornelius Knapp, Ira Fuller, William Yorks, A. 
J. Chapman, Caleb Philbrook, John Cormack, Washington Allen, 
John Munroe, Abram Mitchell/ John Leach, Daniel McLean, 
James Newcomb, John Rutherford, Jack Walker, Thomas For- 
bush, Sherman Hallum, Charles Roman, Captain Kratzke, Will. 
Davis, John McCarthy, Peter O'Rourke, Thomas O'Rourke, Nel- 
son Allen, Patrick and John Gainor, Asa Woodward, John Gil- 
bert, John Seabring, John and Thomas Hoy, Walter Hunter, 
Isaac Newcomb, Ira De Camp, William Wier, Frank Newcomb, 
Rufus Newcomb, James Haggerty, Joseph Sloan, A. T. Jenks, 
George, Chris, and Alfred Carpenter, Charles A. Davidson, Ed. 
Huttinghorn, William Slocum, William Slocum, Jr., Herbert 
Miliron, Ed. Miller, Al. Shaw, Lindsey, alias "Old Kentuck." 
Daniel Flynn, Frank Whitnall, and Ed. Grant Many of these 
have passed away, while others are still actively employed on 
the St. Croix and Mississippi boats. 


The first steamboat to navigate the waters of Lake St. Croix 
and river was the Palmyra, Captain Middlcton of Hannibal, Mo. 


This boat ianded at Taylor's Falls in July, 1838. The second 
boat was the Gypsy, which landed at Stillwater in November, 
1838. This boat brought up the supplies and money used in 
paying the Chippewa Indians, pursuant to the treaty made July 
29, 1837, between the Indians and the United States government. 
The third boat to navigate the St. Croix was probably the Fay- 
ette, in the early summer of 1839, bringing supplies and sawmill 
machinery for the Marine Lumber Company, which were landed at 
Marine. Later on, in 1840, the boats coming to the St. Croix 
waters were the Annie. General Pike, Indian Queen and Brazil. 
In 1841 the boats coming to the St. Croix were the Otter, Captain 
R. S. Harris; the Chippewa, Captain Griffith; the Sarah Ann, 
Captain LafTerty; and the Rock River, Captain Haraszthy, a 
Hungarian count and exile. 

In 1842 came the New Brazil, Capt. Orren Smith, considered 
quite large, being 160 feet long and 23 feet beam; the Amaranth, 
Capt. G. W. Alchison; lone, Capt. Le Roy Dodge; the General 
Brooke, Capt. Throckmorton; and the Otter and Rock River. In 
1843 came the Jasper ; and in 1844 the Lewis F. Lynn, Capt. S. M. 
Kennett, Lynx, Capt. W. H. Hooper, the St. Croix, and the 

In 1845 came the Uncle Tobey, Captain Cole, M'endota, Hi- 
bernian, and St. Anthony; in 1846, the War Eagle, Capt. D. S. 
Harris, Falcon, Prairie Bird, Capt. Nick Wall, and the Cora. 
The War Eagle towed a fleet of rafts through lake Pepin for 
Capt. Stephen B. Hanks. 

In 1847 came the Argo, Capt. M. W. Lodwick, with R. 
Blakeley, clerk. The writer shipped a quantity of corn on this 
boat for the St. Croix. The Argo struck a snag just above 
Winona, near a small island, which received from this incident 
the name of Argo island. The boat was advertised as a regular 
packet between Galena and Stillwater, but sank where she struck 
and never was raised. Other boats entering the St. Croix the 
same season \ve:e the Dubuque and Senator. 

In 1848 came the Dr. Franklin, Capt. M. W. Lodwick; High- 
land Mary, Capt. John Atchison; and the Anthony Wayne, Dr. 
Franklin No. 2, Relief, Frontier, Smelter, and Preemption. The 
writer came on the Senator, the earliest boat in the spring of this 
year. The boat was cast ashore on lake Pepin by the ice. It 



was nine days in making the trip from Galena to St. Paul, and 
could not ascend lake St. Croix on account of ice. The passen- 
gers were landed at St. Paul and walked to Stillwater, arriving 
there April 7, 1848. 

In 1849 Minnesota was admitted as a territory; and two 
years later treaties with the Indians opened a large area, and 
immigration began in earnest. Stillwater had then assumed a 
prominent place in the new territory. The number of steamboat 
arrivals increased largely. New and strong steamboat companies 
were organized; strife for business was fierce and lively. All 
boats coming to Minnesota included the name of Stillwater in 
their advertisements and posters. 

Among the numerous arrivals during the two years 1849 an( ^ 
1850 were the steamers Nominee, Yankee, and Lamartine; the 
Excelsior, Capt. James Ward ; Highland Mary, Capt. John Atchi- 
son, who died suddenly of cholera on his steamboat at the landing 
at St. Louis ; and the Tiger, Captain Maxwell, a small but exceed- 
ingly active boat, probably 100 feet in length and 18 foot beam. 
In 1850 the Anthony Wayne came to Stillwater and landed her 
passengers on the platform of the Minnesota House, where "the 
Old Fort" now stands, fully 200 yards from the present shore 
line of the lake. 

In 185 1 the steamboat arrivals were generally two each week 
during the entire season. The large immigration and importa- 
tion of lumbermen's supplies made Stillwater an important point. 
The lumber trade was chiefly at points below Galena, and St. 
Louis was the wholesale market in which the Stillwater lumber- 
men purchased their supplies and general merchandise. In 1852 a 
line of steamboats was established to ply between St. Louis and 
Stillwater and St. Paul, with the intermediate points. This tem- 
porary organization was supplemented bv the formation of the 
Northern Line Packet Company, owning boats of large tonnage 
and superior passenger accommodations. Nearly all the boats of 
this line made Stillwater their terminal on their trips for many 
years during the continuance of the organization. 

In 1856 the St. Croix lake and river passenger and freight 
traffic was inaugurated by the Advent of the complete little steam- 
er Eolian, the fbst regular boat to enter the trade between Pres- 
cott, Stillwater, and Taylor's Falls, Cap1 S. L. Cowan was the 
master, and David P.ronson, clerk. Other boats were the II. S. 


Allen, Capt. Strong; Enterprise, Capt. John Langford; The 
Pioneer; Wyman X, Capt. Wyman X. Folsom; G. B. Knapp, 
Capt. Oscar Knapp, who was also the master of the Nellie Kent, 
Jennie Hayes and Cleone; the Viola, Capt. Bartlett; and the 
Swallow, Capt. Samuel Hanks. The H. S. Allen was for one or 
two seasons commanded by .Captain Strong, and for several suc- 
ceeding seasons by Captain Isaac Gray. 

In 1857 the Equator, Captain Asa Green, master, divided the 
traffic with the Eolian, the Pioneer, Captain Storer, the Bangor, 
Capt. Fortune, and the Viola, Capt. Bartlett. Captain Gray sold 
the H. S. Allen, and built the G. H. Gray. 

On the opening of the St. Croix packet trade, most of the large 
boats plying between St. Louis and St. Paul reshipped their pas- 
sengers and freight at Prescott for the St. Croix valley, and Pres- 
cott was a lively little city. Several down river boats landed 
daily and two packets left daily for the St. Croix. Many of the 
old settlers of the St. Croix valley remember the stirring steam- 
boat times of the fifties. These boats carried to their destination 
many pioneers who, with their children, opened the wild land of 
the St. Croix valley. Their houses thatched with hay have passed 
from sight, but not from memory. The first few acres cleared 
and cultivated during those early years have been increased to 
many farms of large areas, equipped with comfortable homes, 
great barns, and large herds of stock. Verily, the immigrant fami- 
lies have their cwn vine and fig tree for home and shelter. The lit- 
tle tots who were carried ashore from the boats in their mothers' 
arms have become prominent in the history of our state. 

Possibly one cf the most important adjuncts to the city of St. 
Paul was the St. Croix valley. The writer can testify that many 
of the large commercial houses in that city were assisted to their 
present eminence in the commercial affairs of the state by the 
trade of the St. Croix valley ; and their owners owe very much to 
the people of this valley for the large competencies they have ac- 
quired, and for their present high standing in the commercial 
world. An examination of the Stillwater banks shows that for 
many years the St. Croix valley paid to St. Paul merchants from 
one to one and a half million dollars annual 1 v. 

Apropos to steamboats and navigation, I wish to correct an 
erroneous impression that has gained some credence, in regard to 


the gradual failing of the water supply of our streams, by relating 
some of my observations and experiences of the past. Since the 
Duluth and St. Paul railroad, then so-called, was built into Still- 
water, it frequently occurred that the lower river boats were un- 
able to ascend the Mississippi river to St. Paul, because of low 
water, and were obliged to bring their passengers and freight to 
Stillwater, and to reship by rail to St. Paul. During the seasons 
of 1862 and 1863 we had exceedingly low water in all the -north- 
western streams. In 1863 I had charge of a small stern- wheel 
boat called the Alone. When I went on board v. * the boat to take 
the management as master and pilot, the name struck me as being 
singular. I inquired of the owner the origin of the name, and he 
replied that his wife ran away and left him alone. I took charge 
and began making trips with freight from Read's Landing to 
Stillwater and intermediate points. The water kept on falling. 
The boat was loaded to draw 20 inches, and finally the water be- 
came &o scant that I had to employ four yoke of oxen to pull the 
boat over Willow bar at Hudson. Where the Mississippi river 
enters the head of Lake Pepin the stream is wide and shoal. Here 
I was annoyed and delayed by cattle feeding on the water grass 
, that grew above the surface, and was obliged to have my crew 
stand on the lower deck of the boat to drive the cattle away in 
order to prevent them from being run over. I had heard of light 
draft boats running on a dew, but it must have been when the dew 
was on and the cattle off. 


In 1887 Swain & Durant built the steamer Borealis Rex. This 
boat, now seventeen years old, has been in the passenger trade 
constantly, and is one of the swiftest boats running out of the port 
of Natchez. Captain Swain built the Verne Swain, a passenger 
boat now running on the lower river ; the Percy Swain, a popular 
passenger boat; and the Fred Swain and the Little Rufus, two 
popular southern passenger boats. He is now completing the lar^e 
new steamer, Verne Swain, which will take the place of the Fred 
Swain on the Illinois river, when that boat enters traffic between 
Illinois river points and the Louisiana Purchase Exposition. 

Captain Morgan built the steamers Isaac Staples and Edwin 
Staples, for Isaac Staples. 


Captain Register built the Bun Hersey, and the Lora was built 
by Captain Smith and Captain Kent. 

A prominent St. Croix boat was the Maggie Reaney. Adolph 
Munch built the Osceola ; Martin Mower built the Gracie Mower ; 
a man named Winch built the Delta. A small boat, the Plow 
Boy, ran between Prescott and Hastings. Messrs. Ham, West, 
and Truax built the Luella, which made occasional trips to Still- 
water. The Columbia was built by George Miller for William 
Sauntry. The Wyman X. was built by W. H. C. Folsom of 
Taylor's Falls, and he also built the Frankie Folsom. The Minnie 
Wills and Mark Bradley were built by C. G. Bradley of Osceola. 
The steamer St. Croix was built by Butler & Gray, Stillwater. 
The Helen Mar was Built at Osceola by William Kent and John 
Dudley; The Joe Long was built by D?.vid M. Swain for Cap- 
tain Long of Le Claire; the Ravenna was built by Anderson 
& O'Brien of Stillwater ; the Jennie Hayes was built at Franconia 
by O. F. Knapp & Sons. Among the boats built by Durant, 
Wheeler & Co and J. Batchelder were the Pauline, Daisy, Nettie 
Durant, Ed. Durant, Jr., R. J. Wheeler, the Dispatch, the new 
Louisville, Gardie Eastman, Kit Carson, Ten Broeck, Robert 
Dodds, Cyclone, and Nina. The Ada B., Gracie Mower, Eva, 
and Areola, were built by Martin Mower. From the above it will 
be noted that steamboat building has been an important industry 
on the St. Croix, particularly at Stillwater. The boats were built 
mostly for towing purposes, and they have been noted for their 
power and speed. 

The following raft boats have been in commission on Lake St. 
Croix : Alvira, Lone Star, Viola, Julia Hadley, Towa City, Pion- 
eer, Alone, Louisville, Moonstone, Annie Gordon, Abner Gile, 
Argosa, Artemus Lamb, Buckeye, Brother Jonathan, Bill Hen- 
derson, Chas. Rodgers. Clyde, Chauncey Lamb, Enterprise, D. A. 
McDonald, Jim Watson, j. W. Van Sant, Kate Waters, L. W. 
Barden, L. W. Crane, Le Claire Belle, M. Whitmore, Mollie 
Mohler, Minnie Wills. Mark Bradley, Natrona, Dexter, Dan Hine, 
I. E. Staples, Hiram Price, Hudson, Helen Mar, James Malborn, 
Park Painter, Pearl, Penn Wright, Prescott, Robert Ross, Swal- 
low, Sterling, St. Anthony Falls. Vivian, Lydia Van Sant. Black 
Hawk, Alice D., St. Croix, Edwin C, Baby, Flora, Sam At Ice. 
Menominie, Juniata, Sam Van Sant, Mars, Musser. Lady Grace. 
Joe Long, Pilot, Rambo, Georgie S., Gypsy, Mary B«, F. C. 


Brockman, W. H. Kendall, Wanderer, Robert Semple, Gazelle, 
Jessie Bills, Saturn, Borealis Rex, F. Schulenberg, Daniel Hill- 
man, Minnesota, F. Boeckeler, Lafayette Lamb, Rutledge, Park 
Bluff, Daisy, Silver Crescent, G. B. Knapp, W. H. Wilson, Jennie 
Brown, Lion, Horace H., Hennepin, Satellite, Pathfinder, Still- 
water, Silas Wright, Union, William White, W. H. Clark, Wy- 
man X., Robert Dodds, Gardie Eastman, Nettie Durant, E. W. 
Durant, Jr., R. J. Wheeler, Isaac Staples, David Bronson, Bun 
Hersey, Ben Hershey, Moline, Eclipse, F. Weyerhaeuser, F. C. 
R. Denkman, Cyclone, Henrietta, Flora Clark, Glenmont, Front- 
enac, A. T. Jenks, Kit Carson, Kentucky No. 2, Hamburg, Dis- 
patch, Lizzie Gardner, Hyde Clarke, Robert Burdette, Ida Fulton, 
Ravenna, Waunetta, Inverness, Scotia, Pauline, and Sea W r ing. 


This concern has been and will continue to be an important 
factor in the lumber interest of the St. Cro'x district until the last 
log has passed the ordeal of its predecessors. Until 1850 the logs 
came down the St. Croix and were caught and held in the various 
slcughs, where they were rafte il for market or sorted for the local 
S£-w mills. In 1850 a boom was constructed two miles above Os- 
ceola, where logs were sorted for some years. The St. Croix 
Boom Company, incorporated February 27, 1856, was organized 
by the following named gentlemen: Martin Mower, W. H. C. Fol- 
som, Isaac Staples, Christopher Carli, Samuel Burkleo, and their 
associates. The management for many years was in the hands 
of Martin Mower and Isaac Staples. In 1889 a company was 
formed which effected a lease of the entire boom property. The 
officers of the new management, which still continues, are William 
Sauntry, president; James Mulvey, vice-president; Samuel Mc- 
Clure, secretary and treasurer. The directors consist of the offi- 
cers, Jacob Bean, and a few others. 


A few words concerning this beautiful iake and river will not 
be amiss. For many years before the large lumber operations 
filled the St. Croix river with logs, the river was the daily route 


for freight and excursion steamers. It is a stream of surpassing 
beauty, a kaleidoscopic panorama, bringing delightful scenery to 
view with every turn of the stream. It has high bluffs, picturesque 
rocks, and innumerable springs gushing from the rocky cliffs 
above the bed of the stream, while the entire river from its source 
to its junction with the Mississippi is increased from the flow of 
springs in the river bed. The magnificence of the scenery has not 
deteriorated by time. Nature's handiwork has not been .marred 
by the vast lumber traffic of more than half a century. Ere 
long the great volume of the lumber history will be closed. The 
exciting trips up the St. Croix, and the wonderful and weird speci- 
mens of nature's generous gifts, the Dalles of the St. Croix, will 
attract the visitor as in the days of old. Excursions up the St. 
Croix will continue to attract lovers of nature and fishermen. 

Recognizing that what I have written is to become a part of 
the history of Minnesota, I have brought to bear recollections of 
fifty-six years, during which time my friends and associates were 
the men of whom I have written. Valuable assistance has been 
afforded me by Captain Russell Blakeley's work on 'The Advent 
of Commerce in Minnesota," in Volume VIII of this Society's 
Collections; by W. H. C. Folsom's "Fifty Years in the North- 
west," and by his "History of Lumbering in the St. Croix Valley," 
published by this Society in its Volume IX ; and also by personal 
information from Messrs. A. L. Larpenteur and Isaac Labisson- 
niere, coupled with a large array of facts bearing upon this sub- 
ject, from individual lumber and steamboat men. 

Gentlemen of the Minnesota Historical Society, I have to the 
best of my ability performed the duty assigned me. It has been a 
labor filled with many pleasant recollections, but tinged with sad 
memories, because the vast army of those who took part in this 
history, having performed their life work, have been called from 
labor to rest. But few who formed that mighty host remain. This 
article but chronicles their efforts ; of the result the living may 


In connection with this article it mav be mentioned that a 
vast number of logs have been brought to Stillwater by rail, ship- 
ments of that kind up to the present season amounting to 158.- 



446,000 feet. A tabulation of legs that came through the boom, 
lumber sawed at mills on headwaters of the St. Croix, and rail 
shipments, is as follows : 

Logs Scaled through the St. Croix Boom. 


Feet (approximate). Year. 



1840. . . . 

/W\ rvv\ 









cs oon om 





TO 000 000 




t c ooo nnn 


. . . 1,146,850 



.... 20 000 000 



1846. . . . 

40 000 000 



1847. . . . 

60 000 000 



1848 , 

.... 62,000,000 


. . . 1,672,350 


\ . . . 75,000 000 



1850. .. . 

.... 90,000,000 


. . . 1,590,860 


1851... . 



.. . 1,556,820 


1852. ... 




.... 120,000,000 




.... 125,000,000 


... 1,987,689 




. . . 3,468,320 




. . . 2,520,380 




• • • 3 5 36iJ99 


_ _o 


. . . 3,030,884 



. 14s 000 000 



i860 .. 

.... 150,000,000 



1861, , 


. . . 3,258,622 




... 3,082,456 




••• 3,213,537 


1864. .. . 

.... 140,000,000 


... 3,676,958 



••• 2,397,940 




... 3,134,448 


1867. . . . 


... 1,761,015 




• ■ • 3,010,750 


1869. . . . 

1870. .. . 

.... 165,000.000 



1871. . . . 

1872... . 

.... 180,000,000 


300.000 feet. 


.... 160,000.000 




1839-40 — 

... 1.500.000 






1 1,288.33 5.720 



Logs brought by railroad to Stillwater 158446,000 

Lumber sawed at mills on headwaters of the St. Croix 4,237,000,000 

Total of the St. Croix basin 15,683,781,720 

Logs Brought' by Rail to Lake St. Croix. 


Durant & Wheeler, and Jordan & Mathews, Hudson 18,000,000 

C. N. Nelson Lumber Co. (1882) 5,000,000 

Clinton Lumber Co. (1890) 3,000,000 

Musser, Sauntry & Co., Hudson 43,800,000 

William Kaiser 14,710,000 

Ott, Menser & Co 9,360,000 

Taber Lumber Co 21,284,000 

Zimmerman & Ives 10,122,000 

South Muscatine Lumber Co 13,634,000 

Lindsay Phelps Co 7,731,000 

Atwood Lumber Co 8,573,000 

H. D. Campbell 2,032,000 

Rand Lumber Co 1,200,000 




The present eastern boundary of Minnesota, in part, has a 
history beginning even earlier than that of the northern boundary, 
lu 1763, at the end of that long struggle during which England 
passed many a mile post in her race for world empire, while 
France lost nearly as much as Britain gained, — that struggle call- 
ed in America the French and Indian war, — the Mississippi river 
became an international boundary. The articles of the treaty of 
peace were drawn up and signed at Paris on February 10, 1763. 
The seventh article made the Mississippi from its source to about 
the 31st degree of north latitude the boundary between the 
English colonies on this continent and French Louisiana. The 
text of the article ran as follows :| 

VII. In order to re-establish peace on solid and durable foundations, 
and to remove forever all subjects of dispute with regard to the limits of 
the British and French territories on the continent of America, that for the 
future, the confines between the dominions of his Britannick majesty, and 
those of his most Christian majesty in that part of the world, shall be fixed 
irrevocably by a line drawn along the middle of the river Mississippi, from 
its source to the river Iberville, and from thence, by a line drawn along 
the middle of this river, and the Lake Maurepas and Pontchartrain, to the 
sea; . . . • 

The boundary from the source of the river farther north, or 
west, or in any direction, was not given ; it was evidently supposed 
that it would be of no importance for many centuries, at least. 

*Rcad at the monthly meeting of the Executive Couucil, May 9. 1904. A previous 
paper by the same author, entitled "Minnesota's Northern Boundary. " was published ;n 
these Minnesota Historical Society Collections, vol. vni. pp. L8S-212, IVv., L80O, 

fThe text of thii treatv is not readilv found. It was published in the Gentleman's 
Magazine, vol. xxxiii.pp. 121-lltt. March. 1768. 


This circumstance gave to the United States the opportunity, later, 
of extending Louisiana to the 49th parallel ; in fact it admitted 
of indefinite extension northward and westward. 

Through the skill of the American negotiators at Paris twenty 
years later, in 1783, the United States was made the successor of 
England over all the territory east of the Mississippi, and that 
river thus became the international boundary between the new- 
born republic and the territory of Louisiana, which had passed 
into the possession of Spain by the secret treaty of Fontainebleau 
on November 3, 1762, whereby France had already relinquished 
that great territory previous to the treaty of 1763. The second 
article of the treaty in 1783 (alike in its provisional and definitive 
texts) defined the western boundary of the United States as 
follows :* 

and from thence on a due west course to the river Mississippi ; 
thence by a line to be drawn along the middle of the said river Mississippi 
until it shall intersect the northernmost part of the thirty-first degree of 
north latitude. 

It was after another interval of twenty years that the next 
change came. In the midst of his victorious career, the first 
Napoleon had dictated the cession of Louisiana back to France, 
by the secret treaty of St. Ildefonso, October 1, 1800 ; but he re- 
alized that he could not hold it against England, and in 1803 he 
sold the whole territory to the United States. Upon the comple- 
tion of this cession, on the 30th of April, 1803, the Mississippi per- 
manently ceased to be an international boundary. 

Within the Union, the Mississippi was, after 1783, the western 
boundary of the "Northwest Territory," and by the passage of the 
• famous "Northwest Ordinance"! it was provided that this river 
should be the boundary of "the western State." The fifth article 
runs as follows : 

Art 5. There shall be formed in the said [i.e., the Northwest] territory, 
not less than three, nor more than five States ; . . . the western State in 
the said territory shall be bounded by the Mississippi, the Ohio, and Wt- 
bash rivers; a direct line drawn from the Wabash and Post Vincents, due 

•Treaties and Conventions of the United States, pp. 371 and 377. 

x fPassed July 13, 1787. by the Con^res* of the Confederation. The text of this 

Ordinance is given in Kxecutive Documents, 3rd session, 46th Congress. 1VsO-$1, vol. xw, 
Doc. 47, Fart 4, pp. lo3-l.">6. 

Minnesota's east, south, and west boundaries. 

north, to the territorial line between the United States and Canada ; and by 
the said territorial line to the Lake of the Woods and Mississippi. The 
middle States ... 

After a time there came a demand for organized government 
to establish law among the scattered settlers. Ohio had organiz- 
ed a territorial government in 1799; but the middle and western 
"States," authorized in the Ordinance of 1787, had little prospect 
of a sufficient population to warrant an established government. 
Congress solved the difficulty by uniting the latter under the name 
Indiana. The act was passed May 7, 1800, and its first section 
reads as follows :* 

Section 1. Be it enacted, etc., That from and after the fourth-day of 
July next, all that part of the territory of the United States, northwest of 
. the Ohio river, which lies to the westward of a line beginning at the Ohio, 
opposite to the mouth of Kentucky river, and running thence to Fort Re- 
covery, and thence north until it shall intersect the territorial line between 
the United States and Canada, shall, for the purposes of temporary gov- 
ernment, constitute a separate territory, and be called the Indiana Territory. 

After the short interval of nine years Indiana Territory had so 
many settlers as to be able to support two governments, according 
to the original plan, and the Territory of Illinois was established 
Februray 3, 1809, by the following enactment :t 

Be it enacted, etc., That from and after the first day of March next, 
all that part of the Indiana territory which lies west of the Wabash river 
and a direct line drawn from the said Wabash river and Post Vincennes, 
due north to the territorial line between the United States and Canada, 
shall, for the purpose of temporary government constitute a separate ter- 
ritory, and be called Illinois. 

After another interval of nine years the next change came. 
Illinois desired to become a state, and so the northern portion, 
mainly unoccupied, was cut off and added to the Territory of 
Michigan, previously created. This transfer of territory was au- 
thorized in section seven of the act passed April 18, 1S1S. enabling 
Illinois to form a State government and constitution, and is in the 
following terms :J 

Sec. 7. And be it further enacted, That all that part of the territory 
of the United States lying north of the state of Indiana, and which was 

•United States Statues at Lar^e, vol. ii, p. 58. 
tlbid., vol. ii.p. 514. 
Jlbid., vol. iii, p. 431. 



included in the former Indiana territory, together with that part of the 
Illinois territory which is situated north of and not included within the 
boundaries prescribed by this act [viz. the boundaries of the State o ; 
Illinois], to the state thereby authorized to be formed, shall be, and hereby 
is, attached to, and made a part of the Michigan territory . . . 

Matters rested thus for sixteen years, when it was considered 
wise to extend the benefits of organized government over the 
territory west of the Mississippi and north of the State of Mis- 
souri. This was accomplished by merely adding the whole vast 
area to the Territory of Michigan. In 1803 the Mississippi ceased 
to be an international boundary; in 1834, by the extension of 
Michigan as thus noted, its upper portion ceased to be a political 
boundary of any description. This condition continued, however, 
for less than four years. The act so enlarging Michigan Terri- 
tory passed Congress on the 28th of June, 1834, in the following 
terms :* 

Be it enacted, etc., That all that part of the territory of the United 
States bounded on the east by the Mississippi river, on the south by the 
state of Missouri, and a line drawn due west from the northwest corner 
of said state to the Missouri river ; on the southwest and west by the Mis- 
rouri river and the White Earth river, falling into the same; and on the 
north by the northern boundary of the United States, shall be, and hereby 
is, for the purpose of temporary government, attached to, and made a part 
of, the territory of Michigan . . . 

This condition was unusually short-lived, because Michigan 
was already eager for admission. In less than two years certain 
territory was set apart to form the proposed state, and all the 
rest was included in the new Territory of Wisconsin. This act" 5 " 
passed Congress on the 20th of April, 1836, though Michigan was 
not admitted until January 26, 1837. 

The next change made the northern Mississippi again a bound- 
ary. The Territory of Iowa was created by the act of June 12, 
1838, which divided the Territory of Wisconsin along the Missis- 
sippi river, and named the western part Iowa. The act pro- 
vided :i 

That from and after the third day of July next, all that part of the 
present Territory of Wisconsin which lies west of the Mississippi river, 

•Ibid., vol. iv., p. 701. 
flbld., vol. v. pp. 10-1»5. 
1 1 bid . . vol. v, p. ?.V). 

Minnesota's east, souTHy and west boundaries. 681 

and west of a line drawn due north from the head waters or sources of 
the. Mississippi to the Territorial line, shall, for the purposes of temporary 
government, be and constitute a separate Territorial government by the 
name of Iowa . . . 

The logical result of a territory is a state, and Iowa soon 
sought the fulfillment of its destiny. Only seven years later, on 
March 3, 1845, an ''enabling act" was passed, which defined the 
northern boundary in the following words :* 

Sec. 2. And be it further enacted, That the following shall be the 
boundaries of the said State of Iowa, to wit: Beginning at the mouth of 
the Des Moines river, at the middle of the Mississippi, thence by the mid- 
dle of the channel of that river to a parallel of latitude passing through 
the mouth of the Mankato, or Blue-Earth river, thence west along the said 
parallel of latitude to a point where it is intersected by a meridian line, 
seventeen degrees and thirty minutes west of the meridian of Washington 
city, thence due south . . . 

The citizens of the new State, however, were not satisfied 
with the proposed boundaries, and refused to enter the Union on 
such terms. The constitutional convention asked for more ex- 
tended territory northward, as well as favorable adjustment of the 
southern boundary; but Congress marked its disapproval of such 
proceedings by reducing, instead of enlarging, the northerly 
boundaries. The second enabling act was passed August 4, 
1846, and described the northern boundary thus :t 

Be it enacted, etc., That the following shall be, and they are hereby 
declared to be the boundaries of the State of Iowa, in lieu of those pre- 
scribed by the second section of the act of the third of March, eighteen 
hundred and forty-five . . . viz. . . . thence, up the main channel of the 
said Big Sioux River, according to said [Nicollet's] map, until it is inter- 
sected by the parallel of forty-three degrees and thirty minutes north lat- 
itude; thence east along said parallel of forty-three degrees and thirty min- 
utes, until said parallel intersect the middle of the main channel of the Mis- 
sissippi River . . . 

Minnesota's southern boundary, as thus described, was care- 
fully surveyed and marked within six years after its acceptance 
by Iowa. The work was authorized March 3, 1S49, an< ^ tw0 
appropriations of fifteen thousand dollars rach were soon made. 

•Ibid., vol. v, p. 742. 
■Hbid.,vol. ix. p. 52. 



The survey was completed during the years 1849 to l &5 2 at a 
total cost of $32,277.73. * 

Although the work was done with the best instruments then 
known, an error of twenty-three chains, evidently due to care- 
lessness, was discovered with a year. 

Two days after the passage of Iowa's second enabling act, 
Congress passed the act for the admission of Wisconsin, August 
6, 1846. As usual, there had been several embryo Wisconsin 
enabling acts before Congress, and the question of the north- 
western boundary of the new State provoked considerable dis- 
cussion both in Congress and in the two constitutional conventions 
of Wisconsin. 

In the conventions several propositions had been made and 
earnestly advocated. One of these was to include all the remain- 
ing part of the "Northwest Territory" in the new State. This 
was urged by those who wished to give Wisconsin the largest 
scope possible, and also by those who believed that the Ordinance 
of 1787 made it compulsory to limit the entire Northwest Terri- 
tory to five States. And it must be admitted that the final ar- 
rangement of States is contrary to the intention of the Ordinance, 
if not to its letter. 

Another coterie of men would run the boundary to the Rum 
river and thence to lake Superior. This idea obtained sufficient 
support to be embodied in a memorial passed by the convention 
and sent to Congress. But the settlers in the St. Croix valley 
were vigorously opposed to the proposition, and they adopted a 
counter-memorial that will bear quotation. It must be remem - 
bered that "Minnisota Territory" was not yet established, though 
a bill for that purpose had been before Congress, and that it was 
then expected that the new Territory would not extend west of 
the Mississippi. The idea of the St. Croix settlers was, therefore, 
to give to the State (Wisconsin) and the Territory ("Minnisota*') 
approximately equal areas ; and so another boundary line was 
proposed, namely, the Chippewa river. The memorial addressed 
to Congress by the citizens of the proposed new Territory reads 
as follows :t 

♦Senate Documents, 1st Session, 33rd Congress. 1838-54, vol. iv. Doc. No. 10. 
fSenate Miscellaneous Documents, 1st Session, 30th Congress. IS IT 4v N.v S\ 
refcrreJ to the Committee on Territories. March JS. 1S43. 

Minnesota's east, soutil, and west boundaries. 683 

That they have learned with surprise and anxiety that the constitu- 
tional convention of Wisconsin have passed a resolution, urging upon your 
honorable bodies a change of the northern boundary of the State as fixed 
by Congress, so as to include a large portion of country lying north of that 
line, and in fact as far as the mouth of Rum river, a distance of nearly 
sixty miles above the St. Croix. Your petitioners, being intimately con- 
cerned in the decision of this question, beg leave respectfully to protest 
... for the following reasons, to wit: 

First. Wisconsin, according to the bill for its admission, will make one 
of the largest states of the Union. Your memorialists believe that your 
honorable bodies are committed against the policy of admitting new States 
into the confederacy which have more than a reasonable extent of terri- 
tory. This was the case with Iowa, from whose northern limit, as proposed 
by the convention of that State, more than a degree and a half of latitude 
were cut off by Congress. 

Secondly. Your memorialists conceive it to be the intention of your 
honorable bodies so to divide the present Territory of Wisconsin as to form 
two states nearly equal in size, as well as other respects. A line drawn 
due south from Shagwamigan bay, on lake Superior, to the intersection 
of the main Chippewa river, and from thence down the middle of said 
stream to its debouchure into the Mississippi, would seem to your memor- 
ialists a very proper and equitable division ; which, while it would secure 
to Wisconsin a portion of the lake Superior shore, would also afrbrd to 
Minnisota some countervailing advantages. 

But if the northern line should be changed as suggested by the con- 
vention, Minnisota would not have a single point on the Mississippi below 
the falls of St. Anthony, which is the limit of steamboat navigation. . . . 
[The Rum river empties] into the Mississippi nearly twenty miles above 
the falls. Besides this, the Chippewa and St. Croix valleys are closely con- 
nected in geographical position with the upper Mississippi, while they are 
widely separated from the settled parts of Wisconsin, not only by hundreds 
of miles of mostly waste and barren lands, which must remain uncultivated 
for ages, but equally so by a diversity of interests and character in the 
population. The seat of government in Wisconsin is nearly four hundred 
miles distant from the St. Croix. . . . The county of St. Croix contains 
more than four thousand souls. ... [If that county should be incorporated 
with, Wisconsin] the prospects of Minnisota would be forlorn indeed. 

. . . Your memorialists, in conclusion, pray your honorable bodies to 
pass a law for the organization of the Territory of Minnisota, and for 
extending its limits to the line designated in this their memorial. 

Three hundred and forty-six names follow, including Henry 
H. Sibley, Alexander R. MacLeod, \Y. A. Cheever, 11. M, Rice. 
Alexander Faribault, William Henry Forbes, Franklin "Steeles." 
William R. Marshall, etc. 



The result of the controversy was a compromise adopting a 
middle line along the St. Croix and St. Louis rivers. This boun- 
dary was first officially described in the enabling act for the State 
of Wisconsin, approved August 6, 1846, which provides :* 

That the people of the Territory of Wisconsin be, and they are hereby, 
authorized to form a constitution and State government . . . with the 
following boundaries, to wit: . . . thence through the center of Lake 
Superior to the mouth of the St. Louis River; thence up the main channel 
of said river to the first rapids in the same, above the Indian village, ac- 
cording to Nicollet's map; thence due south to the main branch of the 
River St. Croix; thence down the main channel of said river to the Mis- 
sissippi ; thence down the center of the main channel of that river to the 
northwest corner of the State of Illinois ; thence due east . . . 

This is the first, and also, rather remarkably, the final des- 
ciption of Minnesota's eastern boundary. 

The convention which framed the constitution of Wisconsin, 
in the winter of 1847-48, incorporated in it a proposal for a differ- 
ent boundary between that State and Minnesota. After accepting 
the boundary chosen by Congress, the convention proposed a line, 
considerably outside of the other, which it should replace if Con- 
gress consented. The proposed boundary was described as fol- 
lows :f 

Leaving the aforesaid boundary line at the first rapids of the Saint 
Louis River; thence in a direct line, bearing southwesterly to the mouth of 
the Iskodewabo or Rum River, where the same empties into the Missis- 
sippi River : thence down the main channel of the said Mississippi River, 
as described in the aforesaid boundary. 

Upon the admission of Wisconsin to the Union as a State, 
May 29, 1848, a peculiar condition resulted in the St. Croix valley. 
Not only had a territory been cut in two, but a fully organized 
county had been divided, leaving much the larger part, including 
the county seat, outside the new state. After considerable dis- 
cussion some of the leading men proposed a convention, which 
was held on the twenty-sixth of August, 1848. It was the action 
of this body which decided the name of the new Territory. But, 
having a complete county organization, the next step was a Ter- 
ritorial government, and that was soon obtained. It was claimed 

that the admission of the State of Wisconsin did not abolish the 
. » 

*U. S. Statutes at Large, vol. Is, p. 56. 

tCharters and Constitutions ot the United States, Part il, p. 203u. 

Minnesota's east, south, and west boundaries. 685 

Territory of Wisconsin, and so the governor of the Territory 
was summoned from Madison, Wis., and an election was held, 
on October 30, 1848, at which Henry H. Sibley was elected dele- 
gate to Congress. After some difficulty, Mr. Sibley secured his 
seat in Congress, January 15, 1849. 

This situation of affairs hastened somewhat the passage of 
the act creating Minnesota Territory. It bears date of March 
3, 1849, an d provides the following boundaries :* 

Be it enacted, etc., That from and after the passage of this act, all that 
part of the territory of the United States which lies within the following 
limits, to wit : Beginning in the Mississippi River at a point where the line 
of forty-three degrees and thirty minutes of north latitude crosses the 
same, thence running due west on said line, which is the northern boundary 
of the State of Iowa, to the northwest corner of the said State of Iowa, 
thence southerly along the western boundary of said State to the point 
where said boundary strikes the Missouri River, thence up the middle of 
the main channel of the Missouri River to the mouth of the White-earth 
River, thence up the middle of the main channel of the White-earth River, 
to the boundary line between the possessions of the United States and 
Great Britain ; thence east and south of east along the boundary line be- 
tween the possessions of the United States and Great Britain to Lake 
Superior; thence in a straight line to the northernmost point of the State 
of Wisconsin in Lake Superior; thence along the western boundary line 
of said State of Wisconsin to the Mississippi River ; thence down the main 
channel of said river to the place of beginning, be, and the same is hereby, 
erected into a temporary government by the name of the Territory of Min- 
nesota. . . . 

The next, and last, change came in 1857 when the enabling 
act was passed for the admission of Minnesota to the Union. 
December 24, 1856, the delegate from the Territory of Minnesota 
introduced a bill to authorize the people of that territory to form 
a constitution and state government. The bill limited the pro- 
posed state on the west by the Red river of the North and the 
Big Sioux river. It was referred to the Committee on Territories, 
of which Mr. Grow, of Pennsylvania, was chairman. January 31, 
1857, the chairman reported a substitute, which differed from the 
original bill in no essential respect except in regard to the west- 
ern boundary. The change there consisted in adopting a line 
through Traverse and Big Stone lakes, and due south from the 
latter to the Iowa line. The altered boundary thus cut oft a nar- 

•U. S. Statutes at Large, vol. ix. p. 403. 


row strip of territory estimated by Mr. Grow to contain between 
five and six hundred square miles. Today the stnp contains such 
towns as Sioux Falls, Watertown, and Brookings. The substi- 
tute had a stormy voyage through Congress, especially in the 
Senate, but finally completed the trip on February 25, 1857. 

Before its passage in the Senate, Senator Jones, of Iowa, at 
the instance of citizens of Minnesota then in Washington, offered 
an amendment permitting the people of Minnesota to decide by 
vote whether the state should have the boundaries specified in 
the bill or should embrace only that portion of the Territory lying 
south of the forty-sixth parallel. The idea met with but little 
favor and was speedily rejected. It was brought forward, prob- 
ably, because northern Minnesota was considered mainly a wild- 
erness, and of little value to the settled southern half, while it 
might require lavish expenditure to defend the northern frontier 
against foreign enemies. 

The enabling act, as finally passed and approved February 
26, 1857, defined the boundaries of Minnesota as follows:* 

Be it enacted, etc., That the inhabitants of that portion of the Territory 
of Minnesota which is embraced within the following limits, to wit: Begin- 
ning at the point in the centre of the main channel of the Red River of the 
North, where the boundary line between the United States and the British 
possessions crosses the same; thence up the main channel of said river to 
that of the Bois des Sioux River ; thence [up] the main channel of said 
river to Lake Travers; thence up the centre of said lake to the southern 
extremity thereof ; thence in a direct line to the head of Big Stone Lake ; 
thence through its centre to its outlet; thence by a due south line to the 
north line of the State of Iowa; thence east along the northern boundary 
of said State to the main channel of the Mississippi River; thence up the 
main channel of said river, and following the boundary line of the State 
of Wisconsin, until the same intersects the Saint Louis River; thence down 
said river to and through Lake Superior, on the boundary line of Wiscon- 
sin and Michigan, until it intersects the dividing line between the United 
States and the British possessions : thence up Pigeon River, and following 
said dividing line to the place of beginning — be and they are hereby auth- 
orized to form, for themselves a Constitution and State Government, by 
the name of the State of Minnesota, and to come into the Union on an 
equal footing with the original States, according to the federal constitution. 

The foregoing boundary was accepted without change, and 
without a desire for change, by the constitutional convention of 
Minnesota, and has remained unaltered to the present day. 

•U- S. Statutes at Large, vol. xi, p. 166. 

Minnesota's east, south, and west boundaries. 687 - & 

One attempt to change it, at least for a time, was made in 
1861. Senator Henry M*. Rice, of^ Minnesota, proposed, as an 
expedient to quiet the slavery agitation, to immediately divide all 
the territory of the United States into states equally pro-slavery 
and anti-slavery. He introduced a resolution with this object, on 
January 16, 1S61, which would create some states and enlarge 
others, one* of its provisions being as follows :* 

Third, an enlargement of the jurisdiction of Minnesota, to embrace 
the proposed Territory of Dakota and the portion of Nebraska which lies 
north of latitude forty-three degrees. 

The resolution met with no support, and no action was taken. 

Thus has time wrought great changes. For thousands of 
years any considerable change in the boundaries of a state meant 
war, sometimes to extermination, and even the maintenance of 
boundaries often called forth armed hosts. But since 1787 great 
commonwealths have grown up all over this broad land, and the 
history of their domestic boundaries is as peaceful and prosaic as 
the one which closes here. 

♦Senate Miscellaneous Documents, 2d Session, 36th Congress, 1860-61, No. 11. 


Min.nksota riiHTofticAt, Rorttmr, 
Vol. x. i'i vi i: xvi 





Gentlemen of the Executive Council of the Historical 
Society : I have been honored by an invitation to say a few words 
on the subject of the late Bishop Whipple, in regard to his mis- 
sion work for the Indians. While I am glad of the opportunity 
of adding anything to the admirable record of that pure and 
noble man, I feel my inability to do him justice, never having 
had any very close relations with the church he represented, or 
in fact with any other. I can recall only two circumstances that 
afford any justification for my saying a word on the subject. In 
the first place, I have known Bishop Whipple perhaps longer 
than' any other man in our State, and, secondly, I have had a good 
deal of experience and contact with the Indians of the North- 

I first became acquainted with Bishop Whipple when he was 
a young clergyman in charge of the Zion Church in Rome, New 
York, about the year 1849. I was residing in the same county, 
and became quite in touch with him through a brother of mine, 
who was a young doctor in the same place. One of them minis- 
tered to the spiritual, and the other to the physical wants of the 
multitude of poor inhabitants of that locality ; the work was 
purely missionary. 

In 1856 he was called to Chicago, and established the Free 
Church of the Holy Communion, where he remained until he 
was chosen Bishop of Minnesota in the year 1859. 

Up to the time that Mr. Whipple went to Chicago, the 
Episcopal Church did not reach the poor as closely as other Pro- 
testant denominations, and free churches of that faith were prac- 
tically unknown. It was for the purpose of reaching this class 



that the young divine made his church free, his support coming 
entirely from the free offerings of the people. Chicago then had 
among its people many railroad men whom he desired especially 
to cultivate. He visited every shop, saloon, and factory in the 
city, personally, and left invitations to attend his services ; and he 
went so far as to study books on the structure and workings of 
the steam engine, in order to become en rapport with the railroad 
operatives. His efforts on these lines were eminently successful 
and gained for him, as a missionary worker, a fame which ex- 
tended far and wide, and which ultimately became the most 
prominent factor in securing his election to the bishopric of 

Prior to 1859, Minnesota was part of the Diocese of Wis- 
consin, presided over by Bishop Kemper. This venerable man 
of God used occasionally to visit this part of his domains and 
minister to the spiritual wants of his people. The first time I 
remember attending his services was in the early fifties, at St. 
Peter, in the unfinished "shack" of Captain Dodd, when there 
was but one Episcopalian within one hundred miles and the con- 
gregation all wore moccasins. This condition of things was fairly 
representative of all of Minnesota outside of St. Paul and St. 
Anthony. I mention these things to show that, at the advent of 
Bishop Whipple in 1859, he found a splendid missionary field 
awaiting him, particularly adapted to his inclinations, experience, 
and cultivated talents in that line of work. 

I remember very well when the convention was called in 
1859, to meet in St. Paul to elect a bishop for the new diocese. 
It was composed of two Houses — the clergy and the laity — which 
had to concur in the choice. Any clergyman of the Church was 
eligible to the position. Dr. Paterson and Dr. Van Ingen, both of 
St. Paul, were the two oldest Episcopal clergymen in the state. 
'The former represented the lower town, and the latter the upper 
town, and they were both logical candidates for the office of 
bishop. When the voting commenced the Rev. John Ireland 
Tucker of Troy, N. Y., developed considerable strength, and 
others were voted for, but no one received the requisite number 
of votes for election. On each ballot, Henry B. Whipple, of 
Chicago, received one vote. No one seemed to know much about 
him, until Dr. Paterson, having become satisfied that he himself 


would not be the choice of the convention, announced the peculiar 
'characteristics of Mr. Whipple, which made him a desirable can- 
didate, and laid especial stress upon his missionary work in Chica- 
go. The result was his election, and thus Minnesota secured the 
best man for the position to be found in the entire Church in 
America. As near as it is possible to ascertain at this remote 
date, the delegate who cast the one vote for Whipple, which intro- 
duced him, was General N. J. T. Dana of St. Paul. Dr. Paterson 
had no personal acquaintance with Mr. Whipple, but in passing 
through Chicago shortly before the Minnesota Convention, he had 
been told of his missionary work in that city by the Rev. John 
W. Clark, who advised him to vote for Mr. Whipple for bishop. 

Bishop Whipple was consecrated October ioth, 1859, at 
Richmond, Virginia, at a great convocation of Episcopal dignita- 
ries, assembled at St. James' Church, and presided over by Bishop 
Kemper of Wisconsin. 

As I have stated, Minnesota presented a splendid field for 
missionary work when Bishop Whipple took possession, even had 
there been no Indians among its population. But this element 
was all that was needed to call into action the strongest charac- 
teristics of the Bishop's mind and nature. Here was a people 
numbering about seventeen thousand souls, 8,000 . Sioux, 7,Soo 
Ojibways, and 1,500 Winnebagoes. They were absolutely heath- 
en, with a very few exceptions. Much work had been done for 
them by missionaries in their attempts to Christianize them, but, 
so far as I am able to judge, without much substantial result. 

I have always had serious doubts whether any full-blooded 
Indian, who had attained the age of manhood before receiving 
Christian ministration, ever fully comprehended the basic prin- 
ciples of Christianity. In support of this opinion, I will relate 
a circumstance which occurred at my agency when I had charge 
of the Sioux of the Mississippi. The American Board of Com- 
missioners of Foreign Missions had established an extensive mis- 
sion at the Yellow Medicine river in this country, among the 
Sioux. It was conducted by the Rev. Dr's. Riggs and Williamson 
in the most approved manner of missions at that date, which 
embraced all the experience of a long series of years. To the 
mission was attached a civil government among the Indians, 
with a written constitution and officers o ( . their own selection, 


which was a potent factor in the teaching of Christianity. They 
had a beautiful little church with a steeple on it, and in it hung 
the first bell that was ever brought within our limits. The mis- 
sionaries had given a biblical name to all the principal members, 
such as John, Paul, Peter, and Simon, and things both in the 
Church and the Republic were progressing swimmingly, when, to 
the horror of the good missionaries, Simon, one of their most in- 
telligent and zealous members, announced that an Indian had ar- 
rived from the Missouri, who about eight years before had killed 
his cousin, and he felt it was his duty to kill him in return. The 
missionaries pleaded with Simon, prayed with him, and exhausted 
every means in their power to show him the awfulness of the 
crime he proposed to commit. Simon acquiesced in all they said 
and did, but always concluded with the remark, "But he killed 
my cousin and I must kill him." So deeply had this law of 
revenge become incorporated into his very nature, that all the 
teachings of Christianity could not eradicate it. He took a 
double-barrelled shot gun and killed his enemy. Simon was ever 
afterward quite as good a church member as he had previously 
been. He was one of the Bishop's special favorites, and per- 
formed many acts of friendship to the whites in the trying times 
of 1862. If he ever became truly converted, it was through the 
wonderfully persuasive efforts of the Bishop, who seemed to be 
able to perform miracles in that direction. 

Whether my doubts about the true erficacv of the Christian 
religion ever penetrating the heart of an Indian, be well founded 
or not, is of very little importance to anyone but the Indian ; and 
if my understanding of that mysterious power is correct, his ina- 
bility to comprehend its teachings would not militate against his 
salvation. One thing I can confidently assert, and that is that 
very many of the Indians who professed Christianity became ex- 
emplary citizens, proving their sincerity by lives of devotion to 
the whites and the performance of many good works. 

Missions had existed among the Indians of the Northwest 
many years before the arrival of the Bishop. They had been es- 
tablished as early as 1820 at Mackinac and La Pointe, and ex- 
tended west with the growth of the fur trade and exploration. 
They were located at Fort Snelling, Sandy lake, Leeeh lake. Red 
lake, Lac qui Parle, Traverse des Sioux, lake Calhoun. Ki p OSU , 


Shakopee, Yellow Medicine, and other points, both in the Sioux 
and Ojibway country; and history hands down to us many hon- . 
ored names of men and women who devoted their lives to the 
cause of Christianizing the Indians. Prominent among these 
good, self-sacrificing people, are the names of Mo*se, the father 
of the great inventor of the telegraph, Aver, Boutwell, who coined 
the word "Itasca," Terry, Williamson, Pond, Riggs, and Adams, 
who with his wife is still a citizen of St. Paul, and about the only 
remaining reliable authority on the Sioux language. Another 
honored missionary was Father Galtier, who erected the little 
Catholic chapel on the bluff and called it "St. Paul," thus naming 
our capital city, which up to that time had been called "Pig's 
Eye." There were many others to whom the present generation 
of whites is deeply indebted for the good work they did in the 
early days. 

Success in missionary work, and especially among savages, 
depends very much upon the personality of the missionary. One 
man might talk and teach theology forever and never gain a con- 
vert, while another could endear himself to his pupils in a short 
time and impress upon them the value of his teachings with 
hardly an effort. I think Bishop Whipple, was the best equipped 
missionary I ever knew, and I have lived with and studied them 
quite extensively. He captured everybody he came in contact 
with, and made them his firm and devoted friends. He was gen- 
erous, zealous to a fault in his work, and absolutely sincere and 
truthful in all his teachings and dealings with the Indians. He 
was called by them "Straight Tongue," in distinction from 
"Forked Tongue," a name they apply to ail liars. 

The field presented by this horde of unenlightened people 
was just what the Bishop had sought during all his life, and it 
opened up to him a most attractive arena for his life work. He 
entered upon it with all the zeal and activity of his ardent nature, 
and, while diligently caring for his white parishioners, he soon 
planted his seed in this promising ground, with great hope of 
reaping a rich harvest. His labors were principally among the 
Ojibwavs, although he gave much care and bestowed much 
labor upon the Sioux, and I can truthfully say that he surrounded 
himself with hosts of devoted friends and followers among both 
these aboriginal peoples. 


In speaking of his attractive personality, and the winning 
methods by which he gained popularity and made friends, I will 
relate a circumstance which occurred during the Indian war of 
1862. After the battle of New Ulm, I brought away about 
eighty badly* wounded men, and distributed them be- 
tween Mankato and St. Peter, turning every available place into 
hospitals for their accommodation. I was hardly settled before 
the Bishop came up from his home in Faribault, some fifty miles 
away, entirely unsolicited, equipped with dressing gown, slippers, 
ancl a case of surgical instruments, and camped down among us, 
where he remained, caring for the sick and wounded, and praying 
with the dying, until the last man was provided for. 

While not wishing or intending in the slightest degree to 
detract from the well merited fame of the many good missionaries 
who preceded him, I can, and cheerfully do say, that Bishop 
Whipple was the most successful worker among the Indians of 
Minnesota, of all who have served them in that capacity. I wish 
I had time to say all I would like to on this interesting subject. 
I hope we may enjoy his equal in the future; I know we will 
never have his superior. 



At the time of the election of Bishop Whipple, the entire 
educational work of the Episcopal Church in Minnesota was 
carried on in a plain building of wood, at Faribault, one story 
in height, and some sixty feet in length by twenty in width, 
which served for a school on week days and for a chapel on 

Beneath this unpretentious roof were gathered the village 
children and youth of both sexes, including primary, intermedi- 
ate, and high school pupils, along with some who were looking 
forward to the ministry. The title of the institution was the 
Bishop Seabury University; and its founder, the Rev. J. Loyd 
Breck, saw in vision, grouped around this humble beginning, the 
various halls of the future university. 

Faribault, however, was not the place originally selected for 
the educational work of the Episcopal Church in Minnesota. In 
June, 1850, the Rev. Messrs. Breck, Wilcoxson, and Merrick, 
pitched their tent in the village of St. Paul, not far from where 
we are now assembled, and by gift and purchase secured the 
parcel of ground now held in trust by the Corporation of the 
Minnesota Church Foundation. The scope of their work was 
religious, eleemosynary, and educational ; and foremost was the 
education of young men for the ministry of the Episcopal 
Church in this new Northwest. 

By the advice of Bishop Kemper, whose missionary jurisdic- 
tion included Minnesota, theological teaching was given up for 
the present. At this juncture it so chanced that the self-sacrific- 
ing men of the several Christian bodies who had hern laboring for 
several years among the Ojibwavs of Minnesota, had abandoned 


their missions among these children of the forest, so that there 
was not a missionary of any name actually residing among them. 
The way being thus open, at the earnest request of Enmegah- 
bovvh, and by the advice of the Rev. E. G. Gear, chaplain at Fort 
Snelling, Mr. Breck decided, in 1852, to enter the Red Field, 
selecting for the site of his mission, to which he gave the name of 
St. Columba, a beautiful spot on the banks of Kah-ge-ash-koon- 
se-kag, or the Lake of the Gull, not far from the present city of 

In consequence of the Indian troubles at Leech Lake, where 
he had planted a second mission, Mr. Breck felt compelled to 
abandon this mission, as his own life and the lives of the mem- 
bers of his household were hourly in jeopardy. Meanwhile, the 
rapid development of the Territory, in consequence of the great 
immigration of 1856, seemed to make the time opportune to re- 
sume his original plan of educational work in the White Field. 
After visiting several points, the Associate Mission, a voluntary 
association consisting of the Rev. J. Lloyd Breck, Solon W. 
M'anney, who was then chaplain at Fort Ripley, and E. Steele 
Peake, who had been left in charge of St. Columba, selected 
Faribault as a center for educational woric. The work was not 
formally begun until the following May, 1858, when the Rev. 
Messrs. Breck and Sanford opened the first school in a temporary 

The financial support for this educational venture came 
through the daily mail. The ardent enthusiasm of Mr. Breck, in 
planting a school in the wilds of Wisconsin in 1842, had drawn 
around him a circle of friends in the East, who contributed to- 
wards carrying it on. Their number had been greatly enlarged 
by his romantic work in the wilderness. Few have understood 
the art of letter writing better than the man who had earned the 
name of "Apostle of the Wilderness." Of good family, born, 
bred, and educated a gentleman, giving up the comforts and 
refinements of the city, renouncing the prospect of position, and 
choosing rather the privations of the wiids of Wisconsin, his 
memory is deserving a place beside the early pioneers whose 
names designate the spots where their feet once trod. Such a 
life, with its incidents of romance, could hardly tail to interest 
an ever widening circle of readers, and to draw out gifts for a 
1 work in the far away West. 


The election of the Rev. Henry Benjamin Whipple of Chi- 
cago as the first Bishop of Minnesota took place in St. Paul's 
Church in the city of St. Paul, June 30th, 1859. His consecration 
was on October 13th following, in St. James' Church, Richmond, 
Virginia. His first visit to Faribault was made February 18th, 
i860. On Sunday, the 19th, he preached to a large and attentive 
congregation in the Chapel of the Good Shepherd. 

On the Tuesday following* the leading citizens of Faribault 
called on him and invited him to make Faribault his home. A 
public meeting was called and a committee was appointed to 
wait on the Bishop and formally pledge him a residence in case 
he should decide to make Faribault his home. After careful 
advisement, and in view of the educational work already begun 
and the interests of the Church involved, he decided to select 
Faribault as his residence for the present, on the terms proposed 
by the committee, and it accordingly became his home from the 
5th of May of that year. 

The Bishop on his arrival found a university in name, no 
more and no less pretentious than other educational institutions 
in that early day. The voluntary association known as the Asso- 
ciate Mission had no legal status. The Rev. Mr. Breck was the 
head of this association, while the Rev. Mr. Manney was the 
instructor in theology. A separate school at Faribualt received 
and educated promising children from the Ojibways. 

The coming of the youthful Bishop, then the youngest in 
the Church of which he was the representative, gave a new im- 
pulse to the work. The concourse of people who recently as- 
sembled to witness the last solemn rites, at his burial, the various 
bodies and orders represented, show the hold he had upon the 
hearts of those with whom he worked. 

His first act was to re-organize the work. Articles of incor- 
poration were drawn up, and the Bishop Seabury Mission was 
incoporated in due form on the 22nd of May. i860. 

In order to appreciate most fully the work of Bishop Whip- 
ple, not only in Faribault, but in Minnesota, it must be borne 
in mind that at the time of his election the Bishop was not gener- 
ally known in the Church. His pastorate at Rome, X. V.. had 
endeared him to his own parish. In Chicago, his mission had 
been to the men in the shops, and to those who dwelt in the lanes 


and alleys of the growing- metropolis of the West. He brought 
no money with him. He came to a diocese m which the wealthiest 
parish raised less than a thousand dollars for its rector. The 
Associate Mission itself was burthened with a debt heavy for that 
day. We shall see the difficulties he had to encounter when we 
add to the work at Faribault the additional fact that nearly every 
church in Minnesota was built in part by benefactions which 
passed through his hands. 

To add to the difficulty of the financial problem, the Civil 
War broke out in less than a twelvemonth. Considerable contri- 
butions had come to the work of Mr. Breck from the South, 
and especially from South Carolina. The first gift for the Mis- 
sion property in St. Paul was from an eminent citizen of Charles- 
ton. The breaking out of the war seriously crippled the work, 
and the presence of the Bishop alone could preserve and continue 
what had been begun. "The hour had found the man, and the 
man his opportunity." 

Nothing daunted by the serious condition of our national 
affairs, the Bishop resolved not only not to curtail his work in 
any department, but to enlarge the field of its usefulness. The 
work soon outgrew the single building used for school and 
chapel. It was in that dark period of tiie year 1862 that he 
decided to build a church. The corner stone of this first per- 
manent building was laid July 16th, 1862, the year of our Indian 
massacre. This was the first Cathedral of the Episcopal Church 
in Minnesota. The Bishop's own words are, "In selecting Fari- 
bault as my home, it was with the hope that there I might lay 
the foundations for Church schools and institutions which should 
glorify God long after my own stewardship had passed into 
other hands. The time had come to commence that work and 
it was proper that our first building should be the House of 

These words breathe the spirit of our Anglo-Saxon civili- 
zation wherever it has gone. God's House has been the center 
of the new order. The plan was broad. Ihe Bishop's home was 
to be an institutional center. "Young men were to be trained 
for the ministry, teachers for schools ; and homes of mercy for 
the sick, the aged, and the destitute, were to grow up under the 
shadow of the church spire." 


The Cathedral Church was consecrated on St. John Baptist's 
Day, June 24th, 1869. It seemed appropriate that the consecrator 
should be the venerable Bishop Kemper, the first missionary 
bishop and the first bishop of this Church to visit the Territory 
of Minnesota. Said Bishop Whipple : 

The greatest joy which has come to us is the completion of the Ca- 
thedral of our Merciful Saviour. Its corner stone was laid seven years ago. 
We designed it to be the center of all our diocesan work. When we had 
means we worked ; when we had none, we waited on God in prayer. It has 
cost about $60,000. Most of the gifts came to us without the asking; some 
of the largest gifts from personal friends ; some from friends we have 
never met ; some from little children ; some from aged folk ; some, the last 
gift of the dying; and many gifts are from those who are not of our 

The same year in which the Cathedral was begun also wit- 
nessed the laying- of the corner stone of Seabury Hall. This 
first stone building for educational purposes was 40 by 80 feet, 
and was to cost $15,000. It stood on the grounds now occupied 
by Shattuck School. The original plat, consisting of about ten 
acres, the gift of Mr. Alexander Faribault, has from time to time 
been enlarged by purchase, until it now includes one hundred and 
fifty acres, with campus and wooded walks for the use of the 

Seabury Hall was ready for use in the fall of 1864. It 
was occupied by the Divinity students, and by a few boys from 
outside the town, who attended the Grammar School. This was 
the beginning of the boarding school for boys. Up to this time 
Divinity students had been cared for in the families of the clergy 
of the Mission, in which the Bishop and Mrs. Whipple were 
foremost. The completion of Seabury Hall marks a stage for- 
ward in the educational work of Faribault. In 1865 the Boys' 
department, which had been conducted in the town, was separated 
from the Primary, and its entire educational work was carried 
on at Seabury Hall. 

In 1872, after the burning of Seabury Hall, it was thought 
best to separate the Divinity department from the Boys' School; 
and the following year, 1873, tnc present Seabury Hall was 
erected on its own grounds. The corner stone was laid May 
24th, and the building was ready for use the same year. The 


loss of the former building was seriously felt. The new building 
was reared in troublous times. Said the Bishop, "The panic of 
last year crippled all our friends, and made me feel as if the 
ground had gone out from under my feet;" and again, "The 
support of Seabury has depended very largely upon my personal 
efforts." In 1888, Johnson Hall, 117 by 46 feet, was added 
for a library and lecture rooms. 

In 1867 the number of boys had so increased that a second 
building became necessary for Shattuck School. A temporary 
building of wood was also filled, and pupils had to be refused. 
In the spring of 1868, accordingly, a second building of stone 
was begun for the exclusive use of the Grammar School. The 
name Shattuck was given to this building in honor of Dr. 
George C. Shattuck of Boston, " whose generosity," says the 
Bishop, "enabled me to begin this work." The name Shattuck, 
originally applied to a single building, has been extended to the 
entire school. Shattuck Hall was ready for occupancy about 
Christmas, 1868, and, along with Seabury Hall, adjacent, could 
accommodate about seventy boarders. 

The military feature of Shattuck was one of those inci- 
dental facts which so often shape the future of an institution. 
Among the early students of the Mission was one T. G. Crump, 
who had enlisted in the Civil War, and gained some knowledge 
of military tactics. For pastime, as much as for any reason, 
young Crump had formed the pupils of the school into a military 
organization. Such was his success that when the regulation 
was passed by Congress allowing each State to have an army 
officer to teach military science, Bishop Whipple at once made 
application to the War Department to secure the appointment 
for Shattuck School. Major Latimer, of the U. S. Army, was 
accordingly detailed to this duty, and in 1870 the School received 
a grant of 120 stand of arms and two field pieces. 

During his stay in Nice in southern Europe in the winter 
of 1869-70, the Bishop met Mrs. Augusta M. Shumway, whom 
he had already known while rector of the Church of the Holy 
Communion in Chicago. Mrs. Shumway became greatly inter- 
ested in the Bishop's work in Minnesota, and especially in 
Shattuck School. She therefore decided to build a Memorial 
Chapel for the religious services of the boys in memory of a 
little daughter. The corner stone of the Memorial Chapel of the 


Good Shepherd was laid by the Bishop June 21st, 1871. In 
the autumn of this year occurred the great fire of Chicago, in 
which Airs. Shumway, in common with others, suffered great 
loss. Nothing daunted, she gave orders that the work should 
proceed, and the beautiful Memorial Chapel, erected at a cost of 
nearly $30,000, including its furnishings, was consecrated Sep- 
tember 24th, 1872. As a school chapel, there is none finer in 
America. Its architecture is faultless, and no expense was 
spared by the donor to make it complete in all its arrangements. 

The sudden death of Mrs. Shumway (then Mrs. Hunting- 
ton), in 1884, revealed the fact that she had bequeathed a muni- 
ficent sum to Shattuck School, a part of which was to be used 
for. the erection of a building for the work of the school, a 
part to be used for scholarships for deserving students, and a 
third part of the erection of a building for a library and lecture 
rooms in connection with Seabury Divinity School. This noble 
benefaction has been applied to the uses intended, and is an 
enduring monument to her memory. Shumway Hall was com- 
pleted and ready for use in September, 1887, and contains a 
study hall, recitation rooms, and offices, in which the work of 
the School is carried on. 

Among the friends of Bishop Whipple, and a benefactor of 
the School, should be named Mr. Junius Morgan of New York, 
father of J. Pierpont Morgan, through whose liberality Morgan 
Hall has been erected. This building is about 40 by 80 feet, 
two stories in height, the first floor being used entire for a din- 
ing room, and the second story for dormitories. Coming at a 
time when the school had outgrown its former dining room, as 
well as other school arrangements, Morgan and Shumway Halls 
complete the necessary furnishings for the work of the school in 
a satisfactory manner. To this may be added Smyscr Hall, in 
memory of James Smyser, a former graduate, which, with 
Phelps Cottage, and the Lodge, for dormitories, and a residence 
for the commandant and two of the professors, and a drill hall, 
completes the present system of buildings for Shattuck School. 

I have reserved for the last the mention of Saint Man 's Hal] 
as a work which was very near the heart of the Bishop and 
which engaged his personal attention more ; perhaps, than any 
other in this group of schools, of which he was the Founder and 
for thirty-five years the head and rector. Seeing the need for a 


school for girls which should so combine refining influences with 
a high degree of culture and scholarship as to preclude the neces- 
sity of sending daughters farther from home, in 1866 the Bishop 
decided to open a school in his own house. This was wholly a 
private enterprise. The financial burden was borne by the 
Bishop alone. Mrs. Whipple was the house-mother. The school 
opened November 1st, 1866, with thirty-three pupils under three 
teachers. Miss S. P. Darlington, a daughter of Dr. Darlington 
of Pennsylvania, who had come to Minnesota for her health, was 
the first principal. She was a rare woman in the qualities which 
go to make up the successful head of a boarding school. With 
the exception of one year, she continued to hold this position 
until her death in 1881. "Thoroughly identified with the in- 
terests of the school, pure of heart, gentle by impulse, refined 
by nature, superior in intellect, upright in example, and diligent 
in all things," she impressed her character upon Saint Mary's 
Hall; and her influence for good is still felt, while her name is 
revered for all that is excellent in true womanhood. 

From 1866 to 1882 Saint Mary's Hall was carried on beneath 
the Bishop's own roof, and under his own eye and that of his 
excellent wife. This period embraces nearly one half of the life 
of the school, during which the daughters of Samt Mary's were 
guided by his loving advice and ministrations. For six years the 
Bishop alone was the responsible financial head. From time to 
time at his own expense the Hall had been enlarged until it be- 
came a group of buildings. The cost of earning on the school, 
the wages of the teachers, — in short, everything, — was provided 
by the Bishop. At times he carried a heavy indebtedness. Few 
men would have dared to face such a financial problem. And 
even after its incorporation in 1872, while the Board of Trustees 
were the advisers of the Bishop, he was none the less the man 
to whom teachers and the public looked as the responsible finan- 
cial head. 

On the afternoon of Monday, June 19th, 1S8.2. the coiner 
stone of the new Saint Mary's Hall was laid by Bishop Whipple 
with the usual ceremonies. In his address the Bishop said : 

Sixteen years ago there came to me as the voice of God the thought 
that our Schools would lose their rarest beauty unless we had a Hall to 
train and mould into perfectness Christian womanhood. Our other wOffc 


was in its infancy, halls to be builded, a library to be gathered, professor- 
ships to be founded, and a hundred ways for every dollar given. I did not 
ask counsel, save of the best of all counselors, a Christian wife. We set- 
tled it that our home should be the new Saint Mary's Hall. 

It seems as yesterday when we began our work. The school has to-day- 
many hundred daughters. I hear of them everywhere: loving children in 
happy homes, Christian wives and mothers, gentle women ministering to 
sorrow, — they have overpaid me an hundred fold for every care. 

To-day we reach another way mark in our history. The school has out- 
grown its present home. We need a fairer, nobler building adapted to its 
work. To build this Hall seems a larger venture than we have yet made. 

I take it that it is an auspicious prophecy that three-fourths of the cost 
to enclose this noble building has been the gift of women, and I should 
wrong my brothers' hearts if I doubted that they would complete a work 
so well begun. 

It may seem invidious to name some to the exclusion of 
others who assisted the Bishop in this enterprise which lay so 
near his heart. We may venture to speak of Mr. Robert M'. 
Mason of Boston who visited Faribault., looked over the plans of 
the schools, and was a generous helper in rearing Saint Mary's 

It is due the memory of the Bishop to put on record his 
own words in regard to Saint Mary's. 

Ours will never be a fashionable school, where the daughters of the 
rich can gain a few showy accomplishments. We believe in honest work, 
in broad foundations on which may be reared the completeness of the fin- 
ished temple. In a life hallowed by daily prayer, we shall try to train up 
our daughters for the blessedness of a life of usefulness here and the joy 
and bliss of Heaven hereafter. 

The graceful tribute which the Bishop paid to those under 
him is one of the delightful traits of his personal character. 
Speaking of the Rev. Mr. Mills, the first chaplain of Saint Mary's 
Hall, he uses words no less loving than he used in memory of 
his own brother: ''Providence sent us the right man for a Chap- 
lain, to whom Saint Mary's Hall is indebted for the great 
success it has attained." And again of "Miss Dailington he said, 
"It was her ripe forethought and Christian devotion which 
placed our venture of faith among the foremost schools of the 
land." And again, "God mercifully prolonged her life until the 
childhood of her work was passed and she saw in it the beauty 
of cultured womanhood." Indeed it was this charm of simplicity 



with which the Bishop often put aside any glory which might 
come to him that so added to the beauty of his character and 
won for him the enthusiasm of those who labored for him, and 
with him, and under him, an enthusiasm so ardent and glowing 
that for many years the clergy in their hard and trying fields 
of labor made no changes, but bore poverty and penury because 
they loved their Bishop. 

There is another school which owes its continuance, if not 
its existence, in no small degree to Bishop Whipple, — the school 
at Wilder on the Omaha railway in the southwestern part of 
Minnesota. Indeed the Bishop founded but one school, Saint 
Mary's Hall. And yet the Seabury Divinity School, and Shattuck 
School, as well as Saint Mary's, would not be in existence today 
"but for the Bishop. The buildings were erected largely by his 
personal "friends, and the endowments came from them. Who 
these were, in many instances, he has told us in his ''Lights and 
Shadows of a Long Episcopate." 

He extended the same helping hand to the school at Wilder, 
named in honor of Dr. Breck. This school is the outgrowth of a 
plan conceived by the Rev. D. G. Gunn who came to Windom in 
1880. About 1885 he began to entertain the idea of founding 
an industrial school, where young men could learn various trades. 
In short, every trade was to be taught, while the various products 
of their industry would find a ready market in St. Paul and 
Minneapolis. The enthusiasm of Mr. Gunn enlisted the interest 
of the Rev. E. S. Thomas, then Rector of St. Paul's Church, St. 
Paul. Mr. Gunn's glowing letters induced some Englishmen of 
liberal means to help on so admirable a work. A tract of land 
was donated by Messrs. Wilder and Thompson of St. Paul, and a 
building was begun. Very little was done by Mr. Gunn, except 
to commit the Church to the enterprise. The work was incorpo- 
. rated under the title of Breck School. 

In 1889 it was leased to Mr. Eugene Ruckei, assisted by Mr. 
Dryden and Mr. Coleman, its present head. The original plan 
was abandoned, and the institution became a plain school where 
young people of both sexes and of moderate means can obtain 
an academical education at small cost. Friends of Bishop Whip- 
ple have largely assisted in the work, without which it must 
have failed. Bishop Gilbert also took a deep interest in this 


work. Among those who have aided in the enterprise is the Rev. 
Mr. Appleby. Whipple Hall for young men, and Hunnewil Hall 
for women, besides the main building, have been added, and a 
pretty church has been erected for the use of the school and the 
village. The halls can accommodate about one hundred and fifty 
boarders. Breck school is in close relation to our State Agricul- 
tural School, for which it prepares many young men and women. 
The average age of the young men is over twenty, and the 
students are in the main from the farm and the shop. The young 
women are daughters of farmers, and all are dependent upon self- 
help. The school is located on the high prairie about midway be- 
tween Windom and Heron Lake. In 1897 Mrs. Elizabeth Cheney 
Hunnewil, of Owatonna, left a bequest of about $32,000 to 
Breck School, of which only the income is to be used for the 
wages of teachers.' 

Such is a sketch of the educational work of Bishop Whipple. 
No other bishop of this branch of the Church in the United 
States has left such a record. Four institutions of learning in an 
episcopate of forty-two years are a goodly heritage to us who 
remain. A school of theology, whose graduates are filling places 
of eminent usefulness in the Church, and of which he is the 
founder in that it could never have been what it is today save 
for his helping hand ; Shattuck School for boys under Dr. Dobbin, 
his co-worker, where nearly every building is a memorial to some 
personal friend of the Bishop; Saint Mary's Hall, which has 
been from the first as his own daughter; Breck School, which 
cares for the class in which the Bishop has always been interested, 
— surely this is monument enough to the memorv of a man whose 
personality has been felt everywhere in the Anglican Church, 
who had the "fascination" to interest men and women to give of 
their substance, and the rare wisdom to use the "ideal conditions" 
for the exercise of his gifts in the "opportunities" which God gives 
to few men. 



I am to speak of Bishop Whipple as a citizen of Minnesota. 
If the subject were narrower I should know better what to say 
in five or ten minutes. I must perforce generalize, and can make 
but little mention of specific facts. A man's citizenship is made 
up of his relations with his fellowmen, and its quality depends 
upon how he comports himself among them ; upon what he does 
among, with, and for his neighbors, using the latter term in the 
broad scriptural sense. 

A very notable feature of the Bishop's citizenship was its 
wide scope as respects the sorts and conditions of men with 
whom he came in contact. It reached all the way from the un- 
civilized Indian to the kings and potentates of the earth. He 
came from Chicago to Minnesota to enter upon the duties of his 
episcopate in the fall of 1859, and he had not been in the State 
two months, before he visited the Indians in their wigwams. From 
that day to the day of his death he never ceased his labors among 
and for the Indians, to civilize and Christianize them, and to 
prepare them for the changed conditions which the encroach- 
ment of the new civilization rendered inevitable. 

His labors were of two kinds, and in each kind were nota- 
ble. He visited the Indian in person, before there were any rail- 
roads in the State, and when wagon roads were limited in extent, 
and poor in construction and bridging. He travelled across the 
plains and through the desert in carriages, on foot, on horseback, 
in canoes, through heat and cold, in sunshine and storm and bliz- 
zard, camping by the way, or accommodated in the primitive 
houses of hardy, venturesome, and scattered pioneers, who always 
received him with generous hospitality and shared their Scanty 
comforts with him. He talked to, counseled with, and taught 


the Indians in their wigwams and camps, through interpreters, 
and later in their own language. He was a man of fine physique, 
six feet and two inches tall, of commanding presence, and of 
kindly manners, and he won the ear and confidence of the Indi- 
ans to an encouraging extent. He supplemented his own labors 
with missionaries and teachers sent to them, some of whom were 
educated in his schools for the purpose. So intimate was his 
touch with the red men in their camps, and the results were sub- 
stantial and beneficial. 

The other kind of effort for the Indians was no less notable. 
It consisted of published letters and statements designed to mould 
public opinion on the Indian question, and of communications 
addressed to the Federal authorities, which were supplemented 
by his personal efforts at Washington. He knew every- president 
from Jackson down, and all quite well from Lincoln down, and 
ne labored with them for justice to the Indian. 

He maintained before the public, and at Washington, that 
the Indian policy was a mistaken one from the start; that the 
tribes should not be treated as independent sovereignties, nor 
treaties made with them as such; that the untutored child of the 
desert and plain should not be compelled to cope with the authori- 
ties of a civilized nation in making treaties ; that they should be 
treated as the wards of the Government, and cared for accord- 
ingly, and he referred to the Canadian Indians and their lives 
of peace as an example of such a policy. He told the authorities 
at Washington fearlessly, and in good set terms, that the stipula- 
tions in Indian treaties had not been performed ; that what was 
the Indian's by treaty stipulations was largely diverted from him 
by the greed and rapacity of the white men ; that the stipulated 
annuities had not been promptly paid, and that large portions of 
them had been filched from the Indians on one pretext and an- 
other. He told them that the Indians were dissatisfied, disap- 
pointed, and hungry, and were becoming sullen, morose, and 
dangerous. In a word he told them plainly that the Indians had 
been deprived of their hunting grounds, so that they could no 
longer live by the chase, and that they had not been given hwwd 
and meat in exchange, nor the means of obtaining them, and that 
he feared we were "to reap in anguish the harvest we had 
sowed;" that "where robbery and wrong are the seed, blood will 


be the harvest." He was "straight tongue" in Washington, as 
well as in the camps and councils of the Indians. The President 
and the heads of the departments were sympathetic, and did 
what they could to alleviate the wrongs of a vicious system 
(which Congress alone could change) and to prevent the corrupt 
practices under it; and some amelioration was accomplished 
through the non-political appointment of agents, and the. Peace 
Commission, of which I have no doubt that General Sanborn 
will speak. 

Bishop Whipple was the friend and neighbor of the young. 
What he did for the education of the boys and girls of the State, 
and of the Indian youth and missionaries in his schools at Fari- 
bault, has been told by another. Suffice it to say that the results 
of his efforts were far-reaching and valuable. He was the friend 
of the University, and of education generally; and the State has 
received, and will continue to receive, now that he has gone, the 
beneficent influence of his labors in this regard. 

He was the neighbor of the unfortunate, defective and 
stricken ones of the State; and the schools at Faribault for the 
deaf, dumb, blind, and feeble-minded, had the help of his sympa- 
thetic influence and cordial co-operation and support. 

He was the friend of the soldiers enlisted in the war for the 
suppression of the Rebellion, and he visited them. He held 
service for the First Regiment at Fort Snel 1 ing, and was elected 
its chaplain, which he declined, being held at home by the duties 
of his episcopate. He held service for the First Regiment again 
after the battle of Antietam, and in 1864 in the camps of Generals 
McClellan and Meade, at their request, on the banks of the Poto- 

I cannot speak of the general administration of his episco- 
pate further than to say that it developed the qualities of a States- 
man, in the healing of all dissensions, and in the educating and 
bringing into it a body of able co-workers, eight of whom went 
from his diocese to assume the control of other sees, and that 
he personally visited all parts of the State and held services and 
confirmations in all of his churches, and that ho was constant in 
pointing men home to God and in leading the way. But what- 
ever the results of his efforts in preparing his people for imi 
tality, of which we can have no ken, I say without fear 0! COO- 


tradiction that hundreds of mortal lives of men, women, and 
children were saved in the great massacre of 1862 by the Indians 
who had been educated, civilized, and Christianized through his 
personal efforts and the instrumentalities which he put in motion. 

Bishop Whipple's citizenship was also notable for its cos- 
mopolitan character. He frequently visited the eastern states, 
where he held many services, made many addresses, became 
widely known and was universally honored and esteemed. He 
was listened to with especial interest when he spoke of the Indians 
in his diocese, as he was frequently called upon to do. 

In early life he was temporarily in charge of a church in St. 
Augustine, and in his later years, from considerations of health, 
he spent all or a part of the winters at his winter home at 
Maitland, Florida, and during his residence there impressed his 
personality upon considerable portions of the south. 

More than once he visited England. He attended the Lam- 
beth conferences in London, which were convocations, held tri- 
ennially, of all the bishops of the Anglican Church throughout 
the world. He was received with distinguished attention. He 
held services at Cambridge and Oxford, and at Windsor where 
the Queen was an auditor, and he had a personal interview with 
her at the castle at her request. He told in England, as he did 
in America, the story of the Indians who inhabited his diocese of 
Minnesota when he took it ; of their character and habits, of their 
wrongs and massacres, of his missions among them and their 
results, and of the efforts made for the amelioration of their con- 
dition; and his personal connection with these matters brought 
him honor t and distinction. He could not well tell this story in 
America or England without dwelling upon the goodly heritage 
of which the Indians were dispossessed by the advancing tide of 
civilization, and so he spread wide the knowledge of the resources, 
capabilities, and beauties of Minnesota, both at home and abroad. 
He was the widest known prelate of the Protestant church in 
Minnesota, and, perhaps I may add, as widely known as any in 
the United States, and he spread the knowledge of the State ac- 

Bishop Whipple led what President Roosevelt has been 
pleased to call the "strenuous life." While his Strength lasted, he 
was unremitting in his labors upon the lines I have indicated, and 


when, under the burden of years, his strergth began to fail, he 
gave to the same objects the remainder of his strength. He was 
a man of admirable courage and persistency. When things 
looked dark he did not quail or lie down. He worked on and 
waited for the dawn. He was an optimist and never a pessimist. 
Hope abided with him amid all discouragements. 

Even in the shadow of the awful massacre of 1862, he 
maintained in public papers and communications that -it was the 
result of a pernicious system, fraudulently administered, and he 
pleaded for its reformation. He did not for a moment excuse 
the savage slaughter, but he did stoutly maintain that it came 
because the Indians had been stirred to frenzy by their wrongs. 
For this he was abused and even threatened, but he disregarded 
both abuse and threats ; and detraction ne'er lit on him to stay, 
for there was none to believe it. 

In my view the one notable labor In his life work, which 
-overshadowed the rest and should keep his memory green, is 
his untiring persistent work for the amelioration of the lot of the 
Indian. Well, what kind of a citizen was Bishop Whipple? 

"Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, 
whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, 
whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good re- 
port, if there be any virtue, if there be any praise," if the earnest 
pursuit and inculcation of these things make a good citizen, then 
surely Bishop Whipple was among the best of citizens. 



No words and no eulogy can add aught to the reputation and 
fame of Bishop Whipple. His life and labors were an open book 
known and read of all men. He was necessarily brought into 
contact with the Sioux and Ojibway tribes of Indians in his 
church work in Minnesota. The Ojibways, or Chippewas, in- 
habited all northern Minnesota, and the bands of the Sioux that 
had inhabited all the southern part were ?till living in western 
Minnesota, or in the territory immediately adjacent thereto, when 
he became bishop. 

His natural disposition seemed to accord thoroughly with his 
duties as bishop, to do all that he possibly could for the im- 
provement and civilization of all these people. All his energies, 
his best judgment, and his greatest zeal, were devoted to this 
part of his work. He labored with all the officials of the govern- 
ment connected with the Indian service, from Indian Agent to 
President, and with the Indians themselves, to improve their con- 
dition mentally, morally, and physically. To accomplish this he 
spared no effort, he shrank from no danger, whether he was 
threatened from hostile foes, rigorous climate, hunger, or disease. 
He early became known among the Indians as their true friend, 
one who was trying to benefit and improve them, and to alleviate 
their condition ; and this gave him an immense influence among 
all the savage tribes with whom he was brought into contact. 
There are no halfway friendships among the Indians. With them 
all is confidence or all distrust. 

As early as the year 1S62 he had attained to a position of 
greater influence both with the Sioux and Ojibway nations than 
any missionary that had preceded him, ami 1 believe greater than 
any other white man with whom the Indians had been brought 
in contact. He had made himself familiar to a degree with their 
habits, thoughts, and feelings, both respecting their white neigh- 



bors and with reference to the schisms and divisions and conflicts 
, among themselves. This enabled him to know, at once, when the 
outbreak and massacre of 1862 occurred, what band and portion 
of the Sioux nation originated it, and who were really the guilty 
parties, and he immediately used all his influence to segregate 
those really innocent from the guilty. 

Where Indians had formed in battle array and resisted the 
soldiers of the army, and had fired in an attack or defense, if one 
was arraigned before the military commission, he was convicted of 
the specific crimes with which he was charged, and of having 
participated in the outbreak. This deprived him of the defense 
that his nation had gone to war and that he had been compelled 
to enter its ' military service by superior torce, and had done 
nothing in violation of the laws of war ; and nearly four hundred 
Indians, some of whom were members, and I believe officers, of 
the church, were found guilty and sentenced to be hung, under this 

The public sentiment of the people o: the State resulting 
from the terrible massacre was so aroused that the death and des- 
truction of all the Indians would have been received with favor, 
and anyone interposing in their behalf brought upon himself, for 
the time being, obloquy and contempt. Notwithstanding this, 
Bishop Whipple did not fail to make a strenuous effort in behalf 
of all the Indians who were not really guilty of a crime, although 
found guilty by a military commission, an1 although the finding 
had been approved by his old friend, the District Commander. 
These cases required the approval of the President of the United 
States before sentence could be executed. He presented their 
cases to Mr. Lincoln, then president. Of course, a people who 
could make a treaty could break it at will and go to war. and 
no offense could be committed until the laws of war were violated. 
This reasoning led to reducing the number of Indians that were 
to be put to death from nearly 400 to 39. 

Bishop Whipple made great efforts and used his utmost in- 
fluence toward locating all the Indians upon agricultural reserv a- 
tions, and toward inducing them to adopt and pursue a pastoral 
or agricultural life. Much that was accomplished in this respect 
was suggested and set in motion in the first instance by the 
Bishop. To accomplish this, he visited the Commission appointed 
by and under an act of Congress, passed in which was em- 


powered to make new treaties with all the Indian bands and 
tribes east of the Rocky Mountains. At this time the game on 
which the Indians had relied for support was diminishing rapidly. 
They had been accustomed to exchange their furs for the goods 
and supplies purchased by the Indian agents with the money 
appropriated by Cor gress for the Indians.. Under the changed 
conditions they were in danger of absolute starvation. 

The Bishop accordingly made the most strenuous efforts to 
get the appropriations by Congress for the support of the Indians 
doubled, which was accomplished by making provisions therefor 
in the new treaties. At the same time this Commission was in- 
duced to provide for a Board of military officers to inspect the 
supplies purchased by the government agents when purchased, 
and also at the time of their issue to the Indians. There was the 
farther provision for an unpaid commission of philanthropists, 
with power to inspect and supervise the whole Indian service, 
and to report at any time to the President or other high officers 
of the government ; so that the unexampled benevolence and gen- 
erosity of the people of the United States could reach the Indians, 
and they could receive the intended benefit therefrom. 

The greatest difficulty that had existed from the earliest 
contact with the Indian tribes had been in the failure, on the part 
of the executive department of the government, to provide the 
Indians with the supplies and provisions that the treaties and 
laws set apart for them, which in nearly all instances were ample 
for their support and comfort. With those evils remedied, and 
the Indians located on agricultural reservations, and provision 
niade for the education of all Indian children, it seemed that the 
Indian problem was solved and the way to their civilization and 
Christianization absolutely secured. 

Their condition, and the result that he aimed at for them. 
Bishop Whipple kept constantly before his mind and labored in 
season and out of season to work out this problem by securing 
proper provisions in the treaties and in the laws passed from year 
to year by Congress. At the same time, whenever the Indians 
had been deprived of their natural or legal rights, he used all 
his influence and power to restore them, or to secure to them in- 
demnification. No people ever had a truer or better friend, or I 
friend exerting so good and great an influence for their welfare, 
as the Indians of the Northwest had in Bishop Whipple. 



Mr. President: "The powers that b~ are ordained of God/' 
and those occupying civil offices receive much honor, and ought, 
properly, to receive more than they do. Nevertheless a bishop 
has certain advantages over state officials. He does not con- 
tribute to a campaign fund. He is not a candidate for office. 

My revered diocesan, of whom it is my great privilege to 
speak, was ignorant that he was thought of in connection with 
Minnesota, until a brother clergyman in Chicago threw his arms 
around his neck, exclaiming, "My dear brother, you have been 
elected Bishop of Minnesota." In the episcopal office there is 
no trouble about the second term. Had Bishop Whipple lived 
until yesterday, his term of office would have been forty-two 
years. In the Church there is no oppos'tion party whose chief 
business is to show how unfit those holding office are for the 
positions they occupy. 

If ever a man was called of God to an office, Henry Benja- 
min Whipple was so called to be a Bishop in the Church of God 
in Minnesota. Not only does the manner of his election testify 
to this, but also the suitableness of the man to the position. 
"Why was it," I asked Dr. Folwell, "that the Bishop was in 
touch with all conditions of men, with statesmen, financiers, sol- 
diers, workmen, Indians, and Negroes?" The answer was as 
beautiful as true: "He had influence with men because he loved 

His missionary journeys were largely made with his own 
horses. They were a fine pair of blacks, one of which. Bashaw 
by name, a cousin to Patchen, was his special favorite, on account 
of his intelligence. The Bishop was once lost in a mOWStOfin be- 


tween New Ulm and Fort Ridgely. He said his prayers, got 
under the buffalo robes., and let his horses take their own course. 
After travelling for some time, there was a sudden halt, — the 
horses had struck a trail. Then the Bishop saw a light in the 
house of the missionary who was expecting him. 

He used to say that he had slept with every clergyman in 
his diocese. My experience is that he had the lion's share of the 

On going to a border town, a man to'd him that there were 
to be lively times that night. An infidel had been lecturing there 
during the week, who was going to have something to say to 
him. After he finished his sermon that evening, a man came 
forward and said, "Bishop, does your church believe in hell?" 

The Bishop was as good at answering with a story as Abra- 
ham Lincoln, and had had much experience with the negroes. So 
he told a story. "A devout negro slave had a young niece who 
seemed determined to go wrong. One evening the child came 
bounding into the cabin from some scoffers' gathering, and ex- 
claimed, "Aunty, I'se done gwine to b'lieve in hell no more. If 
dere done be any hell, I'se like ter know whar dey gits de brim- 
stone fur it." The old aunty turned her eyes sorrowfully upon 
the girl, and answered, with tears running down her cheeks, 
"Oh, honey darling, look dat ye doesn't go dere ! You done find 
dey all takes their own brimstone wid 'em." 

In his preaching he seemed constantly anxious to strengthen 
those weak in the faith. He used to tell of a man who for years 
read everything he could against Christianity, but there were 
three things which prevented him from becoming an infidel. 
"First," said he, "I am a man. I am going somewhere. Tonight 
I am a day nearer the grave than I was last night. I have read 
all such books have to tell me. They shed not one solitary ray 
of hope or light upon the darkness. They shall not take away 
the guide of my youth and leave me stone-blind. Second, I had 
a mother. I saw her going down into the dark valley where I 
am going, and she leaned upon an unseen Arm as calmly as a 
child goes to sleep on the breast of its mother. I know that was 
not a dream. Third, I have three motherless daughters. They 
have no protector but myself. I would rather kill them than 
leave them in this sinful world, if you blot out from it all the 
teachings of the Gospel." 


Another point about his preaching was the great love mani- 
fested by him towards those who love the Lord Jesus Christ. 
He was a High Churchman, and in the early days of his episco- 
pate a brother bishop objected to his making missionary addresses 
in his diocese on account of his views. Yet this' is what he says 
in his Autobiography: "If any man has a passionate devotion to 
Jesus Christ, if he has a soul hunger for perishing men, if he 
holds the great truths of Redemption as written in .the Creeds, 
if he preaches Jesus Christ crucified as the hope of salvation, 
count him as your fellow soldier." 

During the Civil War he visited the Army of the Potomac 
three times a year. After the battle of Antietam he ministered 
to the wounded and dying, and had service in the camp of the 
First Minnesota Regiment. After the service he received a note 
from General McClellan, asking him to have a service of thanks- 
giving in his camp. He slept that night in the General's tent, 
and they conversed until midnight. The next day on parting 
the General said, "Bishop, you do not know what a comfort it 
is in my care-worn life to have a good talk about holy things." 

To his Diocesan Council, in 1861, he said, "While for myself 
I stand aside for no man as truer to his country, no man shall 
rob my heart of the memory of other days. It was in a southern 
city I was consecrated as your bishop. The bishops of North 
and South, of East and West, stood side by side, heart beating 
unto heart, as they laid holy hands on my head in consecration. 
Where now there are only hatred and fierce passions, the tramp 
of soldiery, and the din of arms, there was then such love as made 
hearts tender as a woman's. Others may forget; I shall not, but 
day by day pray God that He will make us one again in love." 

His prayer was heard. At the end of the war the Presiding 
Bishop wrote to the Southern bishops, inviting them to the Gen- 
eral Convention which met in Philadelphia, October, 1S65. Only 
the Bishop of North Carolina was present at the opening service, 
and took his seat in the congregation. During the service he 
was seen by some of the bishops, who went down in their robes 
of office and compelled him to take his place among them in the 
chancel. When he and the Bishop of Arkansas sent word 
asking on what terms they would be received in the House of 
Bishops, they were asked, in reply, "to trust to the love and 


honor of their brethren." So the breach between North and 
South was healed. 

Of late Bishop Whipple enjoyed the honors which came to 
him as the resuU of his participation in the stirring times of his 
earlier episcopate. He was several times appointed by the Gov- 
ernment as a Commissioner on Indian affairs. 

He was one of the trustees of the Peabody Fund for educa- 
tion in the South. 

At the last meeting of the Anglican bishops in England, he 
was the senior American bishop, and as such was treated with 
honors due to the Presiding Bishop. The Queen received him at 
k a private audience, when she presented him with her portrait 
and book. The three Universities, Oxford, Cambridge, and 
Durham, conferred degrees on him. He was the preacher on 
greatest occasions. Personally, he was treated with unsurpassed 
regard. Bishop Morehouse, of Manchester, spoke of him as the 
chief authority on missions among the bishops. "Who do you 
think is the best beloved bishop in England ?" said the archbishop 
of Canterbury. ''Your Grace," replied Miss Carter. "No," said 
archbishop Benson, "It is the Bishop of Minnesota." 

His body now sleeps in the crypt of his cathedral, and over 
it is to be erected a marble altar. His spirit — for Christians think 
more of the spirits of the blessed departed than of their bodies — 
his spirit, in Paradise, has entered into the joy of his Lord. A 
year ago he said to me, "W r hen you get to Paradise, you will 
know how much I loved you." Now I am drawn, as by other 
forces, so also "with cords of a man, with bands of love," to the 
farther shore, to acquire a fuller knowledge of the regard with 
which my Bishop honored me. 

Gladly, if it were proper, would I r^ad you extracts from 
his letters, in order that you might learn something of the gra- 
ciousness of the man. But it cannot be told any more than the 
odor of a rose can be described, it must be experienced in order 
to be known. Yet I will venture to read a passage from one of 
his letters, because it will be a revelation to you as it was to me. 
He has left an undying memorial of himself in the institutions at 
Faribault. Did they come into existence by the touch of a fairy's 
wand, or was his as the word of God, which spake and -it was 
done? No, they are the witnesses of his soul's agony. "Of 



course," he wrote, within a year of his death, "I will pray for you, 
because the Lord loves you as you have loved his work. I 
know, better than you can, the heartache in trying to raise money 
for the Church's work." 

As our bishops multiply in this state, they will be called after 
the cities in which they reside. Bishop Whipple long ago stipu- 
lated that his title should always remain "The Bishop of Minne- 
sota ;" and so, in addition to his name, he has of late years always 
signed himself. 

Therefore, Honored Sir, may I be allowed, in behalf of the 
Episcopal Church, to thank you and the Historical Society- for 
the honor you have, in this Memorial Meeting, conferred on the 
memory of Henry Benjamin Whipple, Bishop of Minnesota. 

Vol. X. Tlate XVII. 

From a Photograph taken lo I8i>3. 

3 AND 14, 1903. 



A Memorial Eulogy, delivered before the Minnesota His- 
torical Society in the Senate Chamber of the Capitol, 
Thursday Evening, September 3, 1903. 


It is not the purpose of this address to deliver to you a 
biography, nor to indict an epitaph. Made, by your favor, for 
this memorial occasion, the organ of our Society, it is my desire 
to paint, as best I may, the portrait of our late distinguished 
President; to set his picture in the environment of his times, 
clothed in the characteristics of his marked individuality, and 
with notice of the more salient features of his achievement. 
Forty-four years of unbroken intimacy and friendship salute me 
from his grave; and this I trust will not warp my judgment, 
but rather the better equip me for presenting a true analysis of 
his character. He has already received the affectionate praises 
of devoted friends, and the generous voices of political opponents 
have celebrated his lofty character. Eulogy has exhausted her 
votive offerings, and I come late to glean in a field so abundantly 

This busy world will not concern itself with men who are 
dead, unless they have largely contributed to the sum of human 
knowledge, or performed such signal services to humanity as 
give them a claim to be long remembered. There are limitations 
to every form of human greatness, but, within the confines of our 
state, I assert that Alexander Ramsey has more claims to endur- 
ing remembrance than any of her other sons. 

The work he did, the influences he set in motion, arc inter- 
woven parts of the state itself. Out of chaos he organized the 



territory into official forms, and breathed into its nostrils the 
breath of life. You cannot recite the formative periods of our 
history without blending his life with the threads of our story. 
Like the confluence of two great streams, whose waters are lost 
in the commingling currents, so the state and the man were 
borne on together. 

Alexander Ramsey appeared at the right time, and under 
the right conditions, for his usefulness and his fame. " His edu- 
cation, his experience, his discipline, prior to his advent on this 
soil as an empire builder, were such that it would seem fate her- 
self had prepared him for his destiny. 

If characters are modified by physical scenery around them, 
then Ramsey was fortunate in the home of his youth. He came 
from the grand old state of Pennsylvania, settled by the English, 
the Scotch, and the German. He was from the Chestnut Ridges 
and Laurel Hills of the lovely Susquehanna. The blue tops of 
the great Appalachian range filled his youthful eye. The story 
of William Penn had stamped its impress on the state, and 
Indian legends and Indian treaties were a part of the tradi- 
tions of every Pennsylvania boy. 

He had read, too, of the massacre of Wyoming, and his 
youthful imagination had been fired by Campbell's poetic des- 
cription of that ruthless slaughter. He had thus inherited no 
love for the Indian character, and his pressing proffer to Presi- 
dent Lincoln, to take all the responsibility of promptly hanging 
the convicted savages of 1862, must be interpreted in the light 
of the lurid flames of Wyoming. 

To understand fully one who has played so great a part 
in our dramatic history, we must, for the hour, live in those 
times, see what he saw, look into the faces of his remarkable co- 
partners, sympathize with his trials, and rejoice in his suc- 

Alexander Ramsey was born near Harrisburg, Pa., Septem- 
ber 8, 181 5. His paternal ancestry were Scotch, and his mother 
of German origin, a racial combination difficult to excel. An 
orphan at ten, by the aid of a friendly relative he obtained a fair 
education, which was greatly enhanced by his strong love for 
reading and study. He subsequently became a carpenter by 
trade; he taught school and studied law. 


That he did not receive a complete collegiate education, I 
think, is happy for us all, for then he might have contented 
himself in filling a professor's chair, and measured out his days 
in expounding the metres of Homer and Virgil. The self- 
taught American, like Franklin and Lincoln, most often develops 
the vigorous and broad life so useful to the nation. Nor was 
there ever a better illustration of the wholesome training of a 
young man in the great common school of experience and self- 
study, which is the nursery and stronghold of American democ- 
racy, than we have in the example of young Ramsey. He was 
one of those practical men who quickly avail themselves of the 
grand opportunities whose golden gates stand open, in this 
country, night and day. 

He came upon the stage of active life when party strife was 
raging with unabated fury. The Whig and Democratic parties 
bitterly divided the American people. The questions about a 
bank, a tariff, and the distribution of the proceeds of the public 
lands, seem to us, at this distant day, to be trivial. But politics 
were intense, the excitement great, and all were politicians, 
even the women and children. As a matter of fact, it was not 
so much measures, as men, that agitated and divided the people. 

Jackson and Clay were the illustrious leaders, and under 
their respective banners the contestants were marshalled in irre- 
concilable antagonism. Both leaders were men of consummate 
tact and management. Each held his followers as with hooks of 
steel. Clay was the captain of the Whigs, and his graceful 
manners and splendid eloquence held in thrall the aspiring young 
men of the day. Ramsey caught the contagion which the fervid 
genius of Clay evoked. The Whig party was resplendent with 
talent, and in that atmosphere young Ramsey was matured. 

The famous Harrisburg convention of 1840 met in his city. 
Harrison was nominated, and Clay was defeated. But the people 
rose as if en masse. Banners floated; the air was hot with accla- 
mations; songs were sung, and even business was neglected. As 
upon an ocean wave, "Tippecanoe and Tyler, too." were floated 
into office. 

A month later Harrison died. Tyler, like another Arnold, 
betrayed his party. Clay's heart was broken, and the Whig 
party was paralyzed. But the great commoner of Kentucky bore 


himself like a plumed knight. In the midst of these stormy 
times, Ramsey was rocked in the cradle of politics. 

In 1840, he was secretary of the electoral college; in 1841, 
he was chief clerk of the House of Representatives ; in 1842, he 
- was elected to Congress, and served in the 28th and 29th Con- 
gresses. He was a substantial Whig member, social, cool, cau- 
tious, and given to practical business. He retired, voluntarily, 
from further service, after the close of the 29th Congress, while, 
singularly enough, Henry Hasting Sibley was just entering the 
30th Congress as a delegate from that terra incognita, the terri- 
tory of Minnesota. 

Ramsey's career in Congress was signalized by his ardent 
support of the Wilmot Proviso, in its application to certain ter- 
ritories acquired as the result of the war with Mexico. His seat 
was next to Wilmot's in the House, and, as a matter of fact, he 
wrote the proviso on his desk for Wilmot, which the latter 
offered. No less strange is the fact that Mr. Sibley opposed the 
application of the Wilmot Proviso to the territory of Minnesota 
in the very next Congress, as "wholly superfluous/' 

In 1848, Ramsey was made chairman of the W r hig State 
Central Committee of Pennsylvania, and contributed largely to 
the election of Zachary Taylor, the last of the Whig presidents. 
When that gallant soldier was inaugurated, he at once tendered 
the governorship of Minnesota to Alexander Ramsey. His com- 
mission bears date, April 2nd, 1849. 

The Whig party was now moribund, dying of slavery. Clay, 
too, was dying, and Webster had condoned with the Slave 
Power. The Fugitive Slave Law was the final bolt that slew the 
great army which Clay and Webster had organized. Thus it 
happened that the brilliant party which had won Alexander 
Ramsey's youthful love and devotion was waning and expiring, 
when he made his advent into the Northwest. 

On the 10th of September, 1845, while a member of Con- 
gress, he was married to Miss Anna Earl Jenks, a beautiful and 
queenly woman, of eighteen summers, possessed of the sw ee t e s t 
disposition and the most estimable qualities. Witli a dash of 
Quaker blood, her "thee's" and "thou's" were exceedingly agree- 
able, She was highly domestic in her tastes. Coming from 
a home of comfort and the best society, with marked affability 


and practical good sense, she at once adapted herself to her new 
surroundings, and by her tact and grace contributed largely to 
the fortunes of her distinguished husband. After a noble 
and useful life, she died on November 29th, 1884, and with sad 
hearts, her troops of friends laid her tenderly away, covered 
with garlands of flowers, in Oakland Cemetery. 

On the 27th day of May, 1849, tne new governor arrived at 
the scene of his official duties. With something of poetic fitness, 
he came, with his young wife, from Sibley's baronial home at 
Mendota, where they had been guests, in an Indian birch-bark 
canoe. On the first day of June, 1849, ne issued his official 
proclamation, declaring the territory duly organized. 

Minnesota thus entered her kindergarten preparation for 
statehood. Then followed the detail necessary to the establish- 
ment of the machinery of the new government. This was the 
historic starting point of the new commonwealth. These im- 
portant proceedings brought him face to face with the most 
remarkable body of men who ever graced a frontier, Sibley, 
Brown, the Rices, Olmsted, Morrison, Steele, McLeod, Stevens, 
Renville, Borup, Kittson, Bailly. 

How, at the mention of their names, the dead arise, and 
life starts in the stalwart forms of these primeval kings of the 
wilderness ! If New England parades, with pride, her Puritan 
ancestors, with equal veneration we point to the vigorous, in- 
trepid and superb men, who stood sponsors to the birth of our 
commonwealth. They were no ignoble rivals in the race which 
was to be run. No stronger men ever colonized a new country. 
They possessed that restlessness that comes of ambition, and the 
audacity that comes of enterprise. 

Far behind these empire-builders of the Northwest, there yet 
appeared in the twilight of our history, other majestic forms. 
We behold the saintly Allouez and Marquette, glorified by their 
sufferings. We see Le Seuer in the valley of the St. Peter, in his 
journey in pursuit of gold, shrouded in mystery and romance, as 
imaginary as that of Jason in pursuit of the Golden Fleece. 

We contemplate the reign and wars of the great fur com- 
panies, those mighty lords of the lakes of the North. Those all 
are the paladins of our history. Following them CUM the era 
of the scientists, Nicollet, Pike, Schoolcraft. This brings the 


panorama to true historic ground. We now touch the time 
when some of you were co-partners in our early dramatic 

Inspired by these grand traditions, and surrounded by these 
stalwart figures, the young Pennsylvanian saw that this wilder- 
ness had an epic of thrilling interest. As he stood in this envi- 
ronment, what were his dreams of the future? Did he behold 
in the aisles of the pathless woods, and in the vernal bloom of 
the unploughed prairies, the mi raged image of that wonderful 
state which is now so proud an ornament in the clustering 
stars of the Union? But as yet, the scene before him was far 
from inviting. There was but little to inspire him with hope. 

He saw but a small hamlet, with bark-roofed cabins. 
Savages yet walked in the straggling streets, with the scalps 
of their enemies dangling from their belts. Cranberries and pelts 
were the commercial currency of the settlement. Oxen were 
the horses of the country, and Red River carts the chariots of 
her commerce. 1 

But what gave him greater anxiety than all else, was the 
fact that, though he was the nominal executive of a domain more 
extensive than France, yet but a fragment was open to settle- 
ment. Casting his eyes upon the map, all in reality over which 
rie had authority was the narrow strip of land lying between 
the St. Croix and the Mississippi, bounded on the north by a 
line passing near where Princeton now stands, a "pent-up 
Utica," and the land not of the best. 

All the territory west of the Mississippi was unceded by 
the Indians. Into this rich Sioux empire, the young governor 
gazed with longing eyes. He immediately began to press, with 
zeal, his Whig friends in Congress, for authority to make a 
treaty with these savages. At last the authorization came in 
1850. As a logical result of this warrant, there followed by far 
the most important event in the history of Minnesota, and des- 
tined to have the most salutary influence upon our destinies. 

The treaty was finally consummated July 23rd, 1851, and 
was ratified by the United States Senate June 26th, 185 2. That 
day Minnesota was bom again. This treaty sealed the doom 
of the Dakota race in Minnesota; they signed away their heri- 
tage, and were henceforth strangers in the land of their fathers. 

Study all the history of that negotiation as you may, JfOU 


will find that Alexander Ramsey was the essential and controlling 
factor in the transaction. He was not only governor of the 
territory, but, ex officio, Superintendent of Indian Affairs. It is 
true that the entire body of traders used their great influence 
with the Indians to accept the treaty, and that influence was pow- 
erful. But the traders worked from mercenary motives. Their 
combined claims amounted to $209,200. Most of these accounts 
were of long standing, and were, perhaps justly, provided for 
in the terms of the treaty. But the one man, in that entire body 
of whites, who worked from no sordid motives, was Alexander 

The treaty itself was the most imposing spectacle yet pre- 
sented in the Northwest. All the dignitaries of the territory, an 
army of traders, speculators, editors, and all the great Dakota 
chiefs, in barbaric pomp, with thousands of their painted follow- 
ers, were present. Why it has not received the historic, literary, 
and artistic notice it so well deserves, it is difficult to understand. 
In the events of that day, it excluded and overshadowed all other 
concerns. It gave 23,000,000 acres of land to the state, and this 
the most picturesque and fertile on earth. The Almighty could 
have made a better country, but he never did. 

The ink was not yet dry on the pages of that treaty, when 
a stream of immigration poured in, through "the inward swinging 
gates," and barbarism gave way to civilization. Ramsey beheld 
the realization of his dream; a magnificent destiny to the state 
was assured. 

One of the noblest features of this treaty was, that it was 
contracted by peaceful persuasion. Nearly all the treaties of our 
government with the aborigines have been the result of bloody 
wars, and made at the point of the bayonet. This pacific treaty 
stands in all honor and credit with that of William Penn. Not 
a soldier was present, nor were they at any time required. 

All that is wanting is an artist like Benjamin W est, who 
gave Penn's treaty to the world, and the scene will be immortal. 
Yonder stands your new capitol, with 

"Granite and marble and granite. 

Corridor, column, and dome, 
A capitol huge as a planet, 

And massive as marble-built Rome." 



This edifice will ever be regarded with enthusiasm, for its grace, 
its elegance and dignity. Therefore let us hang its inviolate 
walls with glorious state histories, first and foremost of which 
should be the scene representing the great treaty of 185 1. 

It may be proper here to note that some disappointed trad- 
ers, whose claims were not allowed, brought charges against 
Ramsey, affecting the integrity of his conduct in the negotia- 
tions. It is sufficient to state that these charges were* fully in- 
vestigated by a hostile senate, and he was triumphantly vindi- 
cated. Lethe, long since, sent her waves of forgetfulness over 
the whole story. 

Correlative to this negotiation, by authority of Congress, in 
1863, when he was United States senator, he made a most im- 
portant treaty with the Red Lake and Pembina Ojibways. This 
treaty covered thirty miles on each side of the Red river, and now 
includes the fertile counties of Kittson, Marshall, Polk, and Nor- 
man, in Minnesota. Previous to this, by his influence chiefly, the 
Winnebagoes were permanently removed from the heart of the 
fairest portion of the state. By his early and persistent efforts, 
the colonist, the conqueror, the civilizer, the Anglo-Saxon, pos- 
sesses the state, and the pagan is gone. What sentimentality re- 
grets the change? 

In the period between the close of his office as territorial 
governor and his election as the second executive of the state, he 
loyally performed every duty of a good citizen, serving one term 
as mayor of the city of St. Paul. 

The slavery question, with a potency which subordinated all 
other political ideas, was now "sovereign of the ascendant." 
Hitherto, in territorial politics, the Democrats held undisputed 
sway. On the 25th of July, 1855, the opponents of the Nebras- 
ka bill held a meeting at St. Anthony, and assumed the name 
"Republican. " They issued a call for a convention, and Alex- 
ander Ramsey was the first name signed to that proclamation. 

From that day onward, his allegiance to Republican prin- 
ciples was unfaltering. More and more these principles informed 
and infused his convictions. He believed that his partv creed was 
the best for the country and humanity. All the ills of the repub- 
lic could be medicated in that political pharmacy. He made no 
unnatural political alliances, but stood his ground upon the well 


defined principles of his party. He constantly gave his patron- 
age to the support of his party, except during the period of the 
civil war, when he bestowed his favors equally on both parties, 
and with a discriminating hand. 

In 1857, a state constitution was to be made. A governor, 
state officers, two members of Congress, and two U. S. senators, 
were the prizes. The contest was sharp, and both sides claimed 
a majority. The result was a double convention, but, by a flash 
of common sense, each faction produced the same constitution, 
alike even in orthography and punctuation. Promptly it was 
approved, and the arch of the state was locked in the cohesion 
of granitic permanence. Henry H. Sibley was the Democratic 
candidate for governor, and Alexander Ramsey led the Republi- 
can column. He was counted out under circumstances of great 

In 1859, Alexander Ramsey was again the logical Republi- 
can nominee, and was elected governor by a decisive majority. 
Under his leadership, the Republicans attained power, to be 
dislodged but once in forty-five years. 

No other governor ever so impressed his individuality upon 
the state. Well did Henry A. Swift declare that his administra- 
tion "was a distinct era in the history of the state." The study of 
his messages reveals his practical purposes, and consummate skill 
as a public administrator. Extravagance was curbed, salaries re- 
duced, county government simplified, the school and University 
lands were safely housed from the despoiler, under the guarantees 
of the constitution. The growing and enormous school fund 
will ever remain as a proud monument to his memory. 

His pronounced action in reference to our school lands, 
as contained in his celebrated message of January 9, 1861, is 
undoubtedly the most complete and forceful presentation of the 
value to the state, and to posterity, of the magnificent grant of 
public lands we received from the nation, more especially in the 
mode and method he devised for safeguarding the gift, which 
has ever been presented to a legislative body. He had fully re- 
solved that this magnificent endowment should not be squander- 
ed. With matchless courage he constrained the adoption of his 
measures. He left nothing, in this regard, for his successors to 
do, but to follow in his footsteps. By this good work, so SUC- 



cessfully accomplished, he may be justly regarded as the author 
and builder of that wonderful school fund, which is today the 
admiration of every state in the Union. 

Kindred to tins, and illustrating his practical and econom- 
ical state house-keeping, and characteristic of his German thrift, 
was his complete reformation of the extravagant and expensive 
government of the preceding state administration. Our first 
legislature was prodigal far beyond the state's resources. State, 
county, and township governments, had plunged headlong into 
excessive expenditures, creating debts and embarrassing the peo- 
ple. He met the situation promptly and vigorously. He insisted 
that every state expenditure should be reduced, that taxation 
might not eat up the substance of the people, nor prove a bar to 
immigration. His economical reforms were sweeping, even to 
reducing his gubernatorial salary one-half. The legislative body 
was largely reduced ; county and township expenditures were 
curtailed; the public printing was no longer "a job;" salaries and 
taxes were alike reduced ; and a banking law, which authorized a 
currency' on inadequate securities, was swept away. Out of these 
radical reforms soon sprung that prosperity which has since 
marked the unparalleled advancement of the state. 

In the progress of our history there had occurred one of those 
sore tribulations by which so many young states and territories 
have been afflicted, leaving wounds and scars during years of 
regret. Our misfortune was the celebrated "Five Million Loan 
Bill." Had the governor of the state stood firm, and permitted 
no encroachment upon the executive prerogative, there would 
have been a door of escape. Governor Ramsey, who inherited 
from his predecessor this ill-fortune, devised measures to extri- 
cate the state from its entanglements. An amended constitution 
expunged the unfortunate measure from the statutes, and the 
franchises and enormous land grants were restored to the state, 
and by his devices the state renewed the same to other corpora- 
tions, so safeguarded as to secure us those great lines of rail- 
road which have so rapidly developed the state. Governor Ram- 
sey is entitled to the highest credit for the masterly skill with 
which he extricated the endangered state from its greatest peril. 

January I, i860, Alexander Ramsey became governor of 
Minnesota. Extraordinary events were pulsating the civilized 


world. Russia was emancipating her serfs; Garibaldi was liber- 
ating Italy ; Germany was moving to unity. But above all, in the 
United States of America, the revolt against the slave power 
had arisen to fever heat. The Fugitive Slave Law, the Dred 
Scott decision, Buchanan's career of weakness and imbecility, the 
overthrow of the Missouri Compromise, were inciting causes for a 
revolution which was fated to end in blood. John Brown's soul, 
at Harper's Ferry, had begun its ominous march. A mighty duel 
between slavery and freedom was organizing in every home of the 

In November, i860, that man of God, Abraham Lincoln, was 
elected president. The storm which had gathered, now burst in 
fury, and on a fatal Friday afternoon, April 12, 1861, treason 
fired its first shots at Fort Sumter, the portents of the bloody 
carnage to follow. For the first time the flag of the Union went 
down, but to rise again, for "the eternal years of God are hers \" 

Ramsey was well prepared by experience and conviction, for 
the new and extraordinary responsibilities thrust upon him by 
the dread note of war. Not one moment did he hesitate, but of- 
fered the first troops to the President, and thus set the pace for 
loyal governors. The young state became a military camp, and 
the roll of the drum and the thrill of the bugle fifed the hearts 
of the sons of Minnesota. He issued his call, and his call was 
not in vain : 

"And there was mounting in hot haste; the steed, 
The mustering squadron and the clattering car, 

Went pouring forward with impetuous speed. 
And swiftly forming in the ranks of war." 

The unexpected exigencies required statesmanlike abilities. 
With an empty treasury, he yet equipped regiments, supplied 
batteries, and placed squadrons of cavalry in the field. He estab- 
lished hospitals, appointed surgeons, and sent comforts to the 
sick. He personally visited his troops in the bivouac and in the 
hospital, and no men in the field were better fed, better clothed, 
Or cared for. At each subsequent call, like the clan of Roderick 
Dhu, at the sound of his bugle, warriors came from every bush 
and brake. The history of Minnesota in the mighty Struggle be- 
came heroic. It was necessary to choose an army of officers, and 


well did he select. His privates became captains ; his chaplains, 
archbishops; his captains, colonels; and his colonels, generals. 

But in the midst of this terrible war, when our flag was 
almost fainting in the breeze, there came the foray of a savage 
enemy in the rear, with deeds too dark for description, threaten- 
ing the desolation of the state. The dwellings of settlers were 
blazing at midnight, their paths ambushed by day. It was an 
orgy of blood, in which neither age nor sex were spared. 

Never was a governor so tried and tested. Never was a 
young state in such deadly peril. But his energies and resources 
expanded with the dangers. His Scotch blood was fired with the 
courage of a Bruce. He summoned every man to the front. The 
plow was stopped in the furrow; the church door was closed, or 
the church itself converted into a hospital. The inhabitants were 
fleeing toward the great cities. The conditions of the state were 
trying to the fortitude of the bravest hearts. But it is the highest 
of all human praise to say, that their constancy and courage 
were equal to the trial. 

I doubt if the records of ancient or modern times give a 
better example of heroic deeds and actions, than were exhibited 
in that dark day, when the rebels were in our front, and the 
savages in our rear. Our soldier sons were falling on the bloody 
slopes of southern battle fields, and our citizens, on the frontier, 
were tomahawked amid the ghastly flames of New Ulm. This 
was the famous and heroic era of our history, when we showed 
the world "the might that slumbers in a peasant's arm." 

Let our children of all time revive their drooping faith in 
periods of despondency, by contemplating this supreme exhibi- 
tion of patriotic devotion to the public weal. By promptness and 
unwearied exertions, the governor restored public confidence, de- 
fended the frontier, and kept two armies in the field, till triumph 
closed, in honor, around our faithful and chivalrous sons. These 
war achievements opened the door for his admission to the Loyal 
Legion, the noblest association following any military contest in 

It is idle to compare any other state administration with that 
of Alexander Ramsey. All others, however competent the ex- 
ecutives, are commonplace and devoid of stirring events. Amid 
all these scenes of financial distress, of prostrated credit, of dire 


rebellion and savage onslaught, Ramsey was ever the central fig- 
ure. His coolness, his judgment, his practical good sense, car- 
ried us safely and triumphantly through the most trying condi- 
tions in all the history of our state. 

The roster of our seventeen governors, territorial and state, 
comprises a roll of admirable men, of vigor and marked ability. 
Eut Alexander Ramsey is easily the Nestor of them all. His 
figure stands out in bold relief, and his primacy is universally 

On the fourteenth day of January, 1863, he was elected to the 
United States Senate. For twelve years he was a distinguished 
and working member of that illustrious body. He served on its 
most important committees, and no senator has left a record of 
greater practical usefulness during the stirring period of the 
war and the reconstructive era following. 

It was his fortune to participate in those great questions of 
reconstruction, of resumption, of constitutional amendments, 
which in their sweep involved all the issues of the great civil 
conflict. Party matters were trivial; but these demanded wis- 
dom and statesmanship absolute. In all of these, he obtained the 
high-water mark of excellence. His state was proud of him, 
and felt a confidence in his wisdom and pilotage, felt in no other. 

As illustrative of his practical state-craft, while he was 
chairman of the committee on post-offices and post roads, some 
of our most valuable postal reforms were successfully achieved, 
cheap international postage was secured, and the celebrated 
"Ramsey bill" corrected the old franking abuse. Great improve- 
ments in the navigation of the Mississippi river, essential aid to 
the Northern Pacific railroad, and the most satisfactory assist- 
ance in behalf of the territories of Dakota and Montana, — these, 
and all matters pertaining to the interests of the great Northwest, 
were the objects of his constant and sedulous care. 

It is proper for me here to remark, that, in the matter of 
negro suffrage, he believed in a ballot based on intelligence. But 
in view of the extraordinary course of Andrew Johnson, in par- 
doning and restoring to civil rights those who had served in the 
rebel army, while all the South were determined to refuse the 
negro any rights whatever, under any conditions, he felt that it 
was necessary to arm these wards of the nation with the ballot, 



that they might not be utterly helpless, but in some measure be- 
come their own guardians. 

Senator Ramsey's senatorial career closed March 4, 1875, 
having completed twelve years of faithful service. 

In 1879 he was appointed by President Hayes to a seat in 
the cabinet, as secretary of -war. As constitutional advisor to the 
President, he filled the office with wisdom and discretion. He 
thus widened his personal fame, and reflected additional lustre 
upon the state he had been so instrumental in creating. 

He was called from retirement in 1882, when the "Edmunds 
bill" was enacted, the object of which was to extinguish polyg- 
amy in Utah. To execute that important statute required men of 
consummate skill and experience. A commission was formed by 
the Garfield administration, of which Ramsey was made chair- 
man. He resigned in 1886, and permanently retired to private 
life. This was his last public work. 

We have now touched the more salient points of his re- 
markable history. He had rounded out a splendid career, more 
abundant in honors than was ever yet accorded to any son of 
Minnesota. With grace, dignity, and philosophic satisfaction, he 
retired to private life. He was out of the dust of the political ar- 
ena, but in the full enjoyment of the profound respect of all his 
fellow citizens. Not Jefferson at Monticello, nor Jackson at the 
Hermitage, was the object of greater veneration and love from 
their own fellow citizens. He had retired full of honors, as full 
of years. 

Now that the tomb has claimed him, what do men think of 
him? Was Alexander Ramsey a great man? Well was it re- 
marked that, since the advent of Washington, all estimates of hu- 
man greatness have essentially changed. Men are now measured 
by the actual benefits they achieve for their fellow citizens, and 
for humanity. Measured by this standard, he was a great man. 
and his name should be canonized within the limits of our 

He was one, and the chief one, of an assemblage of dis- 
tinguished men, who were eminently conspicuous in our early 
annals. His rivals and co-workers were of the Titanic type. 

There was Henry Hastings Sibley, his most illustrious com- 
peer; a man of culture amid barbaric surroundings; bravo and 
chivalric; the "plumed knight" of pro-territorial times. 


There was Henry M. Rice, able, graceful, whether in the 
wigwam or the senate, always polished, suave and diplomatic. 

There was Joseph Renshaw Brown, the brainiest of them 
all, a sort of an intellectual lion, who sported with the savage 
Sioux, or ruled a political caucus, with equal power. 

There was Ignatius Donnelly, that Celtic genius, whose daz- 
zling intellect shone like a meteor; but, unhappily, like the ele- 
phants of Pyrrhus, he was sometimes as dangerous to his friends 
as his foes. 

There was Edmund Rice, elegant and courtly, the Chester- 
field of his day. There was John S. Pillsbury, honest, solid and 
true ; the champion of the University, and the friend of the set- 

There was Morton S. Wilkinson, stately, gifted and ele- 
gant; the friend of Lincoln. It is to be regretted that his 
speeches were always better than his practices. 

There was Cushman K. Davis, that great jurist, whose 
bugle-notes of eloquence in Ciceronian periods still live in the 
echoes of the American Senate, as his memory yet lives, death- 
less, in our hearts. 

And there is the familiar face of Charles Eugene Flandrau, 
the cavalier of the border, lawyer, jurist, soldier, the Prince 
Rupert of the Northwest. 

There is George Loomis Becker, lawyer, railroad president, 
state senator, railroad commissioner, twice Democratic candidate 
for governor, a true type of an elegant and accomplished gen- 
tleman of the old school. 

There is James J. Hill, a strong, unique, virile, monumental 
character, for whom a sharp claim will be justly pressed with 
all the power of steam, for a high niche in the Pantheon of 
Minnesota's great men. 

There is the patriotic face of the Right Reverend John 
Ireland, priest, army chaplain, assistant bishop, bishop, arch- 
bishop, and soon, we pray (be it prophetically said), to wear 
the red hat of a cardinal, the most eminent Catholic prelate 
America has yet produced, and a splendid type of a loyal 
American, after the stamp of Patrick Henry. 

And we must mention also the name of Joseph A. Wheel- 
ock, whose polished Athenian pen has been the brightest jewel 





in the crown of our literature, and will remain for him a peer- 
less monument, which proclaims the pen mightier than the 

Men such as these, and other rare spirits, of literary, civil, 
and social mark, were Ramsey's august compeers and emulators. 
Yet, in some aggregate .way, he measured more than any one 
of them ; and moreover, down deep in the red core of their hearts, 
the people loved him better than any other public man. That 
position he held by the grace of God, and without the leave of 
the politicians. 

Beside him but one. scarcely inferior figure is to be seen, and 
that is the stately form of Henry Hastings Sibley. He was a 
splendid cavalier, "from spur to plume." He, too, is one of the 
august fathers of the state. The panorama of his life, from bar- 
barism to civilization, is an unwritten Iliad. He, like Ramsey, 
was the type of a man to found an American commonwealth. 
These two men are the twin pillars on which the pristine arches of 
the state rest, — par nobile fratnun! 

There is nothing finer in the history of our state, than when 
Ramsey, as governor, summoned his old antagonist from retire- 
ment, and gave him a commission to command all the troops in 
the field against the hostile Sioux, and with unlimited authority. 
The trust and confidence these ancient enemies, in an hour of 
common danger, reposed in each other, bespeak for them the 
enduring regard of all who admire nobility of character. 

What then constitutes the qualities which made Ramsey 
great? His greatest gift was his strong, practical common sense. 
Guizot, in his History of Civilization, says, that saving common 
sense is the best genius for mankind, and has ever been its savior 
in all times of danger. While not a genius, he possessed talents 
of the highest order. His mental fabric was symmetrical, and he 
was ever in command of all his faculties, judgment, memory, per- 
ception, discretion. He could apply his whole intellectual endow- 
ment to a solution of the questions before him. He was never 
among the stars, searching for ideal conditions, but always on 
earth, taking clear, practical views of affairs. The proverb from 
Ovid, "Medio tutissimus ibis," was applicable to his way and 

He was a man with a purpose. He was one who did things. 
He was a projector, as well as an executor. He possessed .1 


strong individuality of character, and that character impressed 
itself indelibly upon the councils of the state. He was gifted with 
a quality of temper that could never be ruffled. Always frank 
and good humored, he might be described by Goldsmith's well 
known line, 

"An abridgment of all that is pleasant in man." 

And yet, he had firmness and decision of character, and was not 
easily turned from his purpose. 

Though bitter invective, often descending to absolute scur- 
rility, marked the stormy annals of territorial times, yet he never, 
for one moment, descended to its use. Though frequently galled 
by the poisoned lance of partisan abuse, he never retorted in 
kind. His speeches and public utterances were elevated, clean, 
and devofd of grossness or defamation. 

Ramsey was not an orator. He in no wise met the require- 
ments of Cicero, that master of elocution. So often on the ros- 
trum with him, I always admired his plain, direct methods, utterly 
rejecting all ornamentation, and by the simplest and most direct 
route reaching the purposes of his address. Like Franklin, he 
seldom exceeded a quarter of an hour or twenty minutes in any 
public address. While not a fluent, he was an easy speaker. He 
spoke as well in German as in English, and this fact greatly en- 
hanced his popularity. His evident sincerity always carried con- 
viction, and he won the judgment of his audience. He had as few 
idiosyncracies as any man I ever met in public life. — no crotchets, 
no fads, and this left his faculties unclouded and unbiased. 

He was a typical American, and loved his country with a 
devotion as fervid as Patrick Henry. He could say, as Webster 
once said, "I was born an American, I live an American. I shall 
die an American." The East, from whence he came, was nar- 
row; but the West broadened and liberalized his ideas. 

The effect of the West Upon the political thought and action 
of the republic, is simply enormous. It is not so much what the 
East has done for the West, but what has not the West done for 
the East? We take the sons of the East, and recast them, in 
stature and breadth, free from the trammels of tradition, till they 
widen like our own ocean prairies. The grand effect of the 
West upon the national character, life and government, is a 


story yet to be written. The West reconstructed Alexander 

Like all truly great men, he was a firm believer in the truths 
of Christianity. He was a Presbyterian of the most liberal school, 
and believed more in a practical .Christian life than in creeds or 
dogmas. He often quoted the couplet of the poet : 

"For modes of faith, let graceless zealots fight, 
He can't be wrong, whose life is in the right." 

There was something remarkable in the general estimate 
placed upon his character. Public esteem is a lofty criterion to 
decide a man's reputation. He who holds an elevated character, 
before such a tribunal, is indeed fortunate. Innumerable were the 
tongues in the state which proclaimed his virtues and his safe 
qualities. In the convention, in the town meeting, in the city full, 
or on the remote frontier, in the church or on the car, everywhere, 
the people said, without distinction of party, Ramsey was alwys 
safe and to be trusted. Such was the power of reputation and 
good character. To be thus confided in was better than a great 
inheritance or bank stock. No other public man among us ever so 
held the universal confidence. With an intimate knowledge of 
our sharp political contests, I fear not to state that, when beaten 
for a high office by legislative coalitions and strange alliances, if 
left to the suffrages of his entire party, he would have been tri- 
umphantly elected. 

We love sometimes to look at distinguished men en dishabille, 
not always in their robes of state. Let us view him personally. 
His social and colloquial qualities were of the best. In private 
life, he was a genial and generous neighbor, a loving husband and 
a fond father. He was neither avaricious nor prodigal of money. 
He bowed in knightly homage to women, as all true gentlemen 
have ever done. 

That elegant contrivance of social life, a good dinner, had its 
charms for his leisure hours and Epicurean tastes. The gorg< 
table, the embossed plate, the exotic bottles, the brilliant flowers, 
the distinguished guests, the Attic salt, in his leisure hours, to 
him were fascinating. The salads of Lucullus, and the wilM S of 
Maecenas, were none too rich for his Pennsylvania blood I be- 
lieve he had the best Stomach in America, and a good StOtnach is 
the foundation of a strong man. 


He was a man of marked personal appearance. He had 
broad shoulders, a deep chest, and great muscular power, denot- 
ing immense vitality. He had a noble head, round, well balanced, 
and symmetrical. His face was broad and expressive. When the 
"dew of youth" rested upon him, he was accounted especially 
handsome ; and age but added grace and dignity to his noble ap- 

Finally, his connection with and devotion to this Society 
must not be omitted on this memorial occasion. He was our pa- 
tron saint from our natal hour to the end of his days. He signed 
the legislative act incorporating this body October 20, 1849, f° ur 
weeks before it was organized. His address on assuming the 
chair as first president, January 13, 1851, is a remarkable paper, 
as it defined the splendid field of our research, and pointed out, 
as never since, the great objects of this Society. To read it even 
now creates an enthusiasm in our work, and an inspiration not to 
be received from any other source. He showed how Minnesota 
had a history, rich in tales of daring enterprise, glowing with 
myths and traditions, which were to be exhumed and gathered 
into permanent form. We were to preserve the fleeting memor- 
ials of our territory ; in fact, were to become the embalmers royal 
to all that is worth preserving in our history. Hence this Society 
has a passion for old things, old traditions, old mounds, old 
stories, old pictures, old heroes ; we love to grope in the twilight 
of the past, to unearth our eldest myths, as well as to verify events 
that otherwise would fade ; — an employment so suitably symboliz- 
ed by the motto on the seal of our Society. "Lux e tenebris." 

Like "Old Mortality" in Scott's immortal story, with mallet 
and chisel, bending over their tombs in pious reverence, we re- 
move the moss which time has gathered, ere yet oblivion dedicates 
them to forgetfulness. We protect and preserve the name and 
the fame of all the good sons of the state, as each in his turn 
requires these good offices, such as we now and here render to him 
whose memory we tonight celebrate. That Minnesota has an 
Historical Society, methodically to gather and record chronicles of 
men and events, of which any state might be justly proud, is 
largely due to his wise foresight and his constant and effective 

Thus have I endeavored to present the portrait of our com- 
panion, Councilor, and President. We have turned the dial back- 



wards, and recalled some of the scenes in the gray dawn of the 
past. We have summoned figures of noted cotemporaries, and 
have touched a few of the more important events of his history. 
True, we stumble over the images of many other distinguished 
men, and the fragments of many weighty events ; but the canvass 
will not carry all things in a single picture. The artist has aimed 
at the general effect, without arithmetical weariness of detail. 

Alexander Ramsey is dead, and has passed forever to the 
"starry court of eternity." The grave closes the scene, and we 
scatter, profusely it may be, the lilies of remembrance upon his 
sepulcher. But the praise of the dead harms no rival, though it 
be generously given. I doubt if the state shall look upon his like 
again, because there are no surroundings to produce such a char- 
acter. He surely earned a name and a fame. Minnesota cannot 
afford to let it die. A generous people will yet decorate his tomb 
with a monument that would please the eye of Pericles. 

Ever advancing shadows leave uncovered the forms of but 
few who have been active in the arena of the state. Many we 
fondly thought imperishable are already quite forgotten. But 
Alexander Ramsey has filled so broad and so useful a page in 
the annals of Minnesota that he has bequeathed his name as a 
household word in the homes of the state, for centuries to come. 

The intelligence of his death fell with an equal shock upon 
all classes of society. It invaded alike the homes of the rich and 
the cottages of the poor, — "pauperum tabernas, regumque tur- 



Alexander Ramsey is dead, so far as such men can die, and he 
is henceforth an historical character . I venture thus early to an- 
ticipate the verdict of posterity, and call him a great man ; one 
test of which surely lies in this, that no other has yet risen among 
us, who, all in all, can successfully contest with him the palm of 

To few men is it given to witness what, in the limitations of 
a single life time, it was his to behold. The wilderness of 1849 has 
been converted into a modern empire, better equipped than 
Greece or Rome, for the people who are its happy citizens. Glad- 
Stone, in his long life, never beheld such a transformation scene. 
Moses was denied the promised land, except its distant vision 
from a mountain top; but Ramsey not only saw the wonderful 


vision, but he was permitted to enter into its full enjoyment. He 
saw the great Mississippi valley swiftly filled with the stars of 
empire. He saw the mighty gates of the Rocky Mountains open 
to close no more. He saw twelve hundred thousand happy and 
prosperous people on the very land his genius had given by Indian 
treaties to the expanded state. He witnessed what had been done, 
and foresaw the unwritten triumphs of the future. 

He must be measured in the completeness of his character, 
physical, moral, and intellectual, in all its harmony, by what it was 
capable of accomplishing, and by what it did actually accomplish. 
The propulsive force of his work still operates, and, like Tenny- 
son's brook, will flow on forever. In all that pertained to the 
well-being of the state, his actions have stood the test of time; 
and no other man, on questions of public policy, ever committed 
so few errors of judgment. His name should be recorded among 
the heralds of empire, as the grandest among the founders and 
statesmen of Minnesota. 

He died in the maturity of his years. The very ends of his 
being seem to have been fulfilled. It was no sudden death in the 
midst of life's great activities and usefulness, like the lamented 
Windom; but was like the close of some pleasing summer's day, 
whose long lingering and benignant light charms as it departs, 
and melts away into the rosy west, leaving upon its forehead the 
evening star of memory. 

Nothing could be more appropriate for his monumental in- 
scription than that placed upon the tomb of Sir Christopher 
Wren, the architect of the Cathedral of St. Paul, who lies buried 
in the very building his genius constructed, and on whose tablet 
is this immortal legend: 

"Si monumentum quaeris, circumspice." 

But Alexander Ramsey lies inurned in a cathedral whose 
mighty arches and swelling dome reach to the very confines of 
this empire state, which his genius may be said to have almost 

TEMBER 14, 1903. 

Hon. Greenxeaf Clark presented the following address: 

The admirable and adequate eulogy by Councilor James H. 
Baker before this society at a recent meeting, largely attended 
by the general public, so fully covers the life, character, and 
services of Alexander Ramsey, and places so just an estimate 
upon them, that but little remains to be said ; and that little more 
in the nature of personal impression of some special characteristic 
than by way of important addition to the picture so happily 

One of the qualities of Governor Ramsey which greatly 
impressed me was his mental equipoise, the perfect command he 
had over himself at all times, a mastery over his faculties which 
events of the most critical import could not overthrow, and which 
made him the man for the crisis. No vital energy was lost by 
despair or nervous fear. His faculties were always ready. It was 
his habit to meet his friends and neighbors with a hearty greeting 
and smiling face. He was fond of humor, and often indulged 
in it, even in serious conversations. No sudden weight of re- 
sponsibility changed his manners in these respects. He acted as 
though a troubled mien and depressed manners had no part in the 
serious affairs of life, and appeared to live in the consciousness 
that there was to be a tomorrow, and that if we were true to our- 
selves, our duty, and our country, and did the best we could, the 
good providence of God, in due time, would evolve the better 

"He looked not on weal as one who knows not woe comes too; 
He looked not on evil days as though they would never mend." 

And is it not true that the true man in the darkest hours will live 
in hope and expectation of the morn? 



As illustration of his ability for prompt and decisive action, 
and of his executive force, I may refer to the incident of the ar- 
rest of Chief Red Iron at Traverse des Sioux, on the occasion of 
the first payment, in November, 1852, under the treaty of Traverse 
des Sioux. The Indians were dissatisfied because of the large 
amounts which were to be paid out of their treaty money to their 
creditors, the traders, according to the agreement made at the 
time of the treaty, but to which they now claimed that their sig- 
natures had been obtained by fraud. Instigated, in part, by 
traders whose claims were not recognized in the agreement, they 
were in an ugly mood, and matters assumed a threatening aspect. 
Governor Ramsey sent to Fort Snelling for troops, and received 
a beggarly force of forty-five men, all told, to confront thousands 
of turbulent Indians. The leader of the trouble was Chief Red 
Iron, who organized his tribe into a "soldiers' lodge." To show 
the spirit that animated them, Red Iron's band would ride fiercely 
up to the thin line of soldiers, and on reaching them would wheel 
and ride back again, and repeat the manoeuvre. Governor Ram- 
sey promptly ordered the arrest of Red Iron by a file of soldiers, 
and kept him in custody until the payment was allowed to pro- 
ceed. This was courageous and forceful action in a crisis so 
threatening, but it was successful. 

The breaking out of the Sioux massacre in 1862, when Ram- 
sey, then governor, was already loaded down with the cares in- 
cident to the raising and equipping of troops for the war of the 
Rebellion, suddenly devolved a most critical and arduous addition- 
al burden upon him. The State was denuded of regular troops, 
and the only military force available was of raw volunteers. Gov- 
ernor Ramsey promptly went to ex-Governor Sibley and per- 
suaded him to take command of the force he hoped to get to- 
gether and equip for an immediate campaign against the savages. 
This was quick decision and decisive action out of the ordinary 
course. There were able military men to be found. Governor 
Sibley had never commanded soldiers, and had never been a 
soldier. But he knew more of Indian character and their modes 
of warfare than any other white man then living, acquired by long 
and close association with them. Two tilings were of vital im- 
portance, to put a step to the slaughter, and to rescue two or three 
hundred wretched female captives. Sibley knew , better than any 
other man, what course to pursue to keep them alive, and finally 


to get possession of them. The results, which it is unnecessary to 
detail, as they are matters of history, justified the wisdom of this 
new and unpiecedented action on the part of Governor Ramsey. 

At the time of the breaking out of the war of the Rebellion, 
Governor Ramsey, being in Washington when the first call for 
troops was made by the President, immediately and personally 
tendered to Mr. Lincoln a regiment of volunteers, the first one 
offered to the Government in the civil war. He at once- came 
home, and soon had the regiment recruited, mustered in, equip- 
ped, officered, and ready for duty. 

No further illustrations are necessary to show his masterful 
power for quick, decisive, judicious action. There is but one fur- 
ther honor that the State can bestow upon Governor Ramsey, and 
that is, to perpetuate his name and fame as the foremost man in 
its upbuilding, by placing his statue in Statuary Hall in the Cap- 
itol at Washington ; and I offer the following resolutions, and 
suggest that they be laid on the table until the memorial address- 
es are concluded, and then be taken up and acted upon. 


Presented by Hon. Greenleaf Clark in the Meeting of 
the Executive Council of the Minnesota Historical So- 
ciety, September 14, 1903, which were unanimously adopted. 

Be it Resolved by the Historical Society that under the Act 
of Congress of 1864, authorizing the States, upon the invitation 
of the President, to provide and furnish statues in marble or 
bronze, not exceeding two in number, for each State, of deceased 
persons who have been citizens thereof, and illustrious for their 
historic renown, or for distinguished civic or military services, 
such as each State may deem to be worthy of national commemora- 
tion, to be placed in the old hall of the House of Represent- 
atives in the capitol of the United States, set apart for the pur- 
pose, this Society do memorialize the Legislature of Minnesota 
at its next session, to provide and furnish, for one niche in such 
statuary hall, the statue of Alexander Ramsey, now dead, full 
of years and of honors, illustrious for his public services, as 
Territorial and State Governor, in extinguishing the Indian 
right to the occupancy of the soil over the fairest part oi Min- 
nesota, and so preparing it for the advancing tide of civilization, 


m laying broad and deep and strong the foundations of the 
civil government of Minnesota, and for his ever memorable 
steadfastness, devotion and labors as "War Governor," in throw- 
ing the whole power of the State to the aid of the Federal Gov- 
ernment in the suppression of the unhappy rebellion of 1861, and 
for the defense of the State against savage foes at the Sioux 
Indian massacre of 1862, distinguished for statesmanship in the 
halls of Congress, in the House of Representatives in his early 
manhood, and in maturer years in the Senate, and in the national 
councils as Secretary of War, and who in the intelligent judg- 
ment of his countrymen, and especially of the people of Minne- 
sota, is deemed worthy of national commemoration. 

Resolved, further, that it is made the duty of the President 
and Secretary of this Society to prepare and present to the next 
Legislature in behalf of this Society, such memorial, and to ask 
that the proper steps be taken to put in execution the objects 
thereof, and for an appropriation adequate for the purpose. 

Ex-Governor Lucius F. Hubbard spoke as follows : 

It was surely a very great privilege to be associated with 
Governor Ramsey, as some of you gentlemen were, in his work 
of laying the foundations of our State. While I can hardly 
claim to have sustained such a relation to him in any degree, it 
was my good fortune to live in Minnesota at the time when his 
service in upbuilding the commonwealth was most forcibly and 
most effectively felt. We all now recognize our obligation to 
his able and conservative guidance during the formative period 
of our existence as a political community, in overcoming the 
unusual difficulties and in solving the serious problems that con- 
fronted us in our early career. 

It was a great privilege vouchsafed to him to be spared to 
witness the imperial proportions attained by the young common- 
wealth whose destiny had been so largely shaped by his hands. 

The characteristic of Governor Ramsey that specially im- 
pressed me, and generally those, I think, that came to know him 
well, was his unique and charming personality. However one 
might differ with him upon any question of public interest, per- 
sonal contact with him was sure to harmonize, in some degree, 



one's own- view with his. He had a most persuasive way in that 
respect, and if one finally was compelled to differ with him upon 
a question of interest or policy, it was with a feeling of real 
sorrow that it must be so. In his nature there was little of that 
element of antagonism that we encounter in the average man of 
our times. If he did not always succeed in conciliating such op- 
position as one must encounter in a long public career like his, it 
caused keen regret upon the part of those who felt that they must 
decline to accept his view of men or measures. 

Perhaps the pleasantest reminiscence I have of my relation 
to Governor Ramsey, is connected with the visit he made to our 
Minnesota regiments in the summer of 1862, along our lines at 
the front, near Corinth, Mississippi. It was during the first few 
months of our service in the South, before we had become ac- 
climated and hardened by experience into the veterans we re- 
garded ourselves a year or two later. We had had our first 
fight and had concluded our first campaign, and at the time 
were encamped in one of the worst of the many malarious local- 
ities that distinguish that section of the country. The health of 
the troops had become seriously affected by the adverse con- 
ditions that generally prevailed. Our Minnesota men, in com- 
mon with their comrades from other states, were being in such 
large numbers reported sick, or unfit for duty, that a feeling of 
despondency and gloom was beginning to pervade the com- 
mand. The sick were earnestly pleading to be taken away from 
the environment of death that was daily claiming many of their 
comrades, and those yet in reasonable health were cast down by 
what seemed to be the inevitable prospect before them. Govern- 
or Ramsey's visit occurred at about this crisis, and he at once 
interested himself in an effort to reassure and revive the droop- 
ing spirits of our men. Here was an instance where the remark- 
able personality of Governor Ramsey, to which I have referred, 
was illustrated in a notable manner. His efforts had a marked 
effect. There seemed to be a change for the better in the con- 
ditions of which I have spoken after this visit of Governor Ram- 

Personally, I well remember the feeling of relief and reas- 
surance I experienced, respecting the responsibilities resting 
upon me as commander of the Fifth Regiment, after Governor 
Ramsey's visit to our camp. It was Simply a case of "bracing 


up" on our part, but the incentive and stimulus to such an effort 
were the cheerful sympathy and assurance with which the Gov- 
ernor convinced us that things were not as bad as they seemed 
to be. 

Surely the name and fame of Governor Ramsey are so 
woven into the fabric of our history that they must endure and 
be honored as long as the Commonwealth shall survive. 

Ex-Governor Andrew R. McGill presented the following 
tribute, which, in his absence, was read by the Secretary. 

It would not be possible in the few minutes allotted me 
to do more than glance at, much less amplify, the traits which 
differentiated Governor Ramsey from other men and served as 
indices to a character marked with strong but withal pleasing 

Following the excellent sketch of his life by General Baker, 
recently read before this Society, any further utterances on the 
subject must be in the nature of redundancy, or but confirmatory 
echoes of what has already been comprehensively considered 
and thoroughly well said. 

Governor Ramsey was first of all a good American citizen, 
loyal alike to his City, State, and Country. His respect for law 
and the orderly conduct of affairs was a marked trait of his 
character. He was at all times a model citizen. His patriotism 
had no bounds. He believed in his Country and its institutions 
with all his soul, and even in the gloomiest days of the rebellion 
his faith remained constant and unshaken. He foresaw the 
country's triumph and splendid destiny, when strong men quail- 
ed and trembled in fear lest it should be overcome by those who 
sought its life; and with cheerful face he looked to the future, 
buoyed up by the firm conviction that this government would 
not perish from the earth, that it would emerge, as it did, with a 
new birth and a new lite, strengthened even by its sacrifices and 
capable of withstanding whatever foes it might encounter in the 
future, domestic or foreign. Those who knew Governor Ram- 
sey during this period cannot fail to recall the sublimity of his 
faith and confidence. In this faith there was no pessimism. 


He was a sagacious, big-brained man, and in saving com- 
mon sense was not excelled by any of his contemporaries. His 
views on public questions were broad and comprehensive, and 
his judgment wonderfully accurate. 

It was but natural for Governor Ramsey to be kindly, so- 
ciable, and hospitable. He had no doubt more warm personal 
friends and admirers than any other man in the State. The 

"None knew thee but to love thee. 
Nor named thee but to praise," 

is often used in extolling the dead, and is seldom applicable ; yet 
in the case of the subject of this sketch it applies literally. And 
while his friends were a great multitude, he never failed, how- 
ever busy, to greet each one, as he met them from time to time, 
and with such undisguised and kindly courtesy as to still further 
endear him to them. Thus as the years rolled by, the ties which 
united him to his friends continually strengthened. 

And who were his friends? Were they the high officers 
of the State and Church? Were they the scholars and artists, 
the men of great learning and accomplishment? Were they the 
wealthy and the powerful? Yes, all of these, and equally also 
the humble and poor. He was no respecter of persons. Xo 
property qualification was necessary to gain his friendship. 
He was absolutely without affectation. There was no fawning 
on his part, neither was there repulsion. To him all of his 
acquaintances, whatever their condition in life, stood on the 
same level. His greetings to the humble were as hale and 
hearty as to the wealthy. His purposes were noble and sin- 
cere, and his life one of unaffected simplicity. 

It is unnecessary for me to refer to Governor Ramsey's 
official career. That phase of his life has been so interwoven 
into the history of the State as to embellish nearly all of its 
pages. The history of his life and of the State's are contem- 
poraneous and inseparable. They cannot be considered apart. 
To relate one is to relate the other. No man was ever more 
clearly identified with his State than he. 

He desired the prosperity and happiness of Ins follow men 
and to the last was deeply interested in whatever tended to the 


development and betterment of the State. He had been pres- 
ent at its birth, had been prominent in moulding its policies 
and laws, had seen it grow in wealth and population, in edu- 
cation and refinement, until it had become confessedly one of 
the prominent States of the Union. He had been an important 
factor in making possible this splendid fruition, and with the 
satisfaction of a parent he dwelt continually in admiration of 
the splendid achievement. 

In the State Historical Society his interest never abated. 
Comprehending its great value, he gave to it his services up 
to the close of his eventful life. I recall his attendance upon 
the Finance Committees of the legislature from time to time, 
and his earnest pleas for the support necessary to carry on its 
important work. At the session of 1901, weighted then with 
four score and six years, he climbed to the third story of the 
Capitol building to meet the Committees in this behalf, and it 
is pleasant now to remember that his demand or request was 
unanimously conceded. 

Governor Ramsey was admirably adapted to public life. 
By reason of his temperament, his knowledge of men, his 
frank and manly nature, and his large comprehension of things 
essential, he was enabled to accomplish more than most men of 
even conceded ability and influence. And, possessing these 
great advantages, he was untiring in serving as best he could 
his State and his Country. 

Death has reaped a glorious harvest in Minnesota the last 
few years. We, who survive, stand appalled as the names are 
called of those who have passed over into that "undiscovered 
country from whose bourn no traveler returns." Ramsey's 
name, alas ! has been added to the list. He has joined the im- 
mortals. The State has lost its first citizen ; and we. each of 
us, have lost a noble friend. Yet we know that 

"It is not all of life to live, 
Nor all of death to die;" 

and that, while he has been called from among US and from 
the activities of life, his works will live after him and his 
name will continue to be influential in Minnesota — his Stale 
and ours — so long as time shall last. In consideration of these 


things, and in the memory which we treasure of his noble . life, 
let us find our consolation. 

Governor Van Sant spoke as follows: 

The long and valuable services of Hon. Alexander Ram- 
sey, to both the Territory and State of Minnesota, easily mark 
him as our most worthy. and distinguished fellow-citizen. 'His 
treaties with the Indians, his labors in season and out of sea- 
son to advance our interests in the pioneer days, will long be 
remembered by a grateful people. 

His fidelity to the cause of education, and his deep solici- 
tude for the safety of the school fund, were most commend- 
able. When by legislative enactment land sharks and specula- 
tors would have laid violent hands upon it, Alexander Ram- 
sey vetoed the measure. And this magnificent fund, now 
amounting to $15,000,000, — and later, if like wisdom and 'in- 
tegrity prevail, it will amount to fully $50,000,000, — will stand 
as a lasting monument to Ramsey's faithful and efficient ser- 
vices and devotion to duty. 

He it was who tendered to Abraham Lincoln at the out- 
break of the Civil War the first regiment, and it was not only 
Minnesota's first, but,/ on account of its memorable charge at 
Gettysburg, it became the first regiment of the nation, — suf- 
fering a greater loss in that sanguinary engagement than any 
other similar organization on either side in any one engage- 
ment during the entire war. / 

At that time there was not a dollar in the treasury of the 
state. Ramsey made a long and tedious journey to Pennsyl- 
vania and borrowed the money, on his own promise to pay, 
to equip that same body of men and send them to the front. 
The fact that he could at such a time on his personal note 
secure so large a sum of money is a most convincing tribute 
to the esteem in which he was held by the people of his native 

During that great struggle no war governor did more 
with the men and means at his command to aid President 
Lincoln in his mighty task than he. His patriotism was ever 



of the highest type. As United States Senator and Secretary 
of War, the same fidelity to duty characterized his every act. 
Not only in public but in private life he was a most exemplary 
citizen, a devoted husband, a kind father; in a word, loved and 
esteemed by all who knew him. 

At Washington, in the rotunda of the Capitol, each state 
is privileged to place statues of two of her most distinguished 
sons. So universal is the sentiment that Alexander Ramsey 
is of all men entitled to this honor, that I purpose asking the 
next legislature to appropriate the money and take the neces- 
sary steps to place his statue in the nation's first niche of fame 
allotted to Minnesota. There may be some question as to 
who shall occupy the other place, — let future generations de- 
cide that; but there can be no difference of opinion, it seems to 
me, as to the wisdom of thus honoring the memory of Alex- 
ander Ramsey. 

Archbishop Ireland spoke as follows: 

The presence of Governor Ramsey in our streets, before 
his death, was forceful and meaningful. He expressed in him- 
self the whole half century of toil and achievement — the prac- 
tical labors and the romance and poetry of our half century 
of growth. He was fortunate in living fourscore years and ten, 
that the quiet peacefulness of his declining years might crown 
the more rugged activity of his early life, — that he might see the 
harvest he had helped to sow, and reap the satisfaction from a 
life full of labor and usefulness. 

Alexander Ramsey and the State of Minnesota are in- 
separable. You cannot mention the one without recalling the 
other. I can remember no other state in which the history of 
the commonwealth is so closely bound up in the life of one 
man. Arriving in 1849 as tne fi rst governor of the new ter- 
ritory, he found Minnesota new and unimportant. A few 
white men were scattered along her rivers. No axmen were in 
her forests, and no plow had furrowed her broad plains. Only 
the trails of the savages marked where man had passed. 

On his arrival he hunted in vain for a roof to Spend the 
night, but was taken in by General Sibley at Mcndota, until 


St. Paul awoke to her dignity as the capital and provided 
quarters for him. 

The story from that time until this present year is more 
epic than ever Homer or Virgil wrote, for wonders have in- 
deed been done, and Alexander Ramsey could say, "Among 
great things, I have been great." He may well be called the 
builder, savior, and father of his State. 

Private virtue is ever the embellishment of public capac- 
ities, and in the private virtues Ramsey stood pre-eminent. 
Honest, kindly, affectionate in his home and among his friends, 
Alexander Ramsey was, indeed, a man whose memory will 
fade only when Minnesota has become but a memory. 

Hon. F. C. Stevens said: 

I esteem myself fortunate, as one of the younger genera- 
ion, in having enjoyed sufficient acquaintance with Governor 
Ramsey so that it was possible to appreciate the noble qual- 
ities which so endeared him to the people of the Northwest 
During the last few years of his life he discussed with me 
matters of public importance with such shrewdness, vigor, 
and breadth of view, as to cause one to marvel: 

"How far the Gulf stream of our youth may flow 
• Into the Arctic regions of our lives, 
Where little else than life survives." 

I have had the opportunity to contrast his strength and 
soundness of intellect with some of the distinguished contem- 
poraries, who with him met and solved the momentous prob- 
lems which confronted men of public affairs more than a gen- 
eration ago. Few of them did retain as he the memory of per- 
sons and events, and a just appreciation of the accomplish- 
ments and errors, of those fateful years. But more than all 
it seems to me wonderful that he grasped so strongly and ac- 
curately the trend of recent events which also form an epoch 
in the world's history. There is one occurence which im- 
pressed me with those faculties. I met Governor Ramsey in 
St. Paul, and he had recounted some of his work in Wash- 
ington and told some stories of interest relating to close friends 
of his then in active public life and in most important stations. 




One of them was a member of the President's Cabinet. Gov- 
ernor Ramsey sent a personal letter by a friend to this former 
colleague in the Senate and Cabinet, relative to some business 
then pending, and I was charged to introduce the gentleman 
and deliver the letter; and to our astonishment this prominent 
official did not remember either the Governor or the im- 
portant matters of former years, until after we had vigorously 
refreshed his memory. And when we discussed current events 
applying to our mission, his feeble old intellect could not seem 
to comprehend them. Yet at that time our old friend seized 
these with the greatest eagerness ; and his opinions and con- 
clusions were so broad and just and shrewd as to always com- 
pel admiration. 

In my public work I was greatly interested in two par- 
ticular questions on which I found Governor Ramsey also in- 
formed and interested, namely, the improvement of our postal 
service, and our national merchant marine. I ascertained that 
when in the Senate he had devoted special attention to these 
topics, and, as chairman of the Senate Committee on Post 
Offices and "Post Roads in 1870, had drafted, introduced, re- 
ported and conducted in the Senate most important measures 
on these subjects. He informed me that the foundation of our 
postal system of today is the postal code which he had piloted 
through the Senate in the short session of 1871. Though there 
has been much subsequent legislation and many amendments, 
there has since never been any thoroughly competent revision. 
I recall that, in that conversation, he stated the present postal 
system to be in some respects inadequate and cumbersome; 
and that the machine for the expenditure of less than $20,000- 
000 for 30,000.000 people could not be expected to do the work 
satisfactorily for the expenditure of $120,000,000 for 75,000,- 
000 people. Recent evenjts have sustained the same con- 
clusion of this wise old statesman. 

I recall, too, that during the time when the ship subsidy 
bills were under discussion by the country and in Congress, 
Governor Ramsey informed me that he had been through 
similar contests when he drafted and reported four bills for the 
benefit of the waning merchant marine of the country and to 
establish steamship lines on the Pacific, Gulf, and Atlantic, and 


with Asiatic, South American, Mexican, and European ports. 
He discussed the subject as it appeared in his active days and 
the changes that had since occurred, as well as the necessities 
of the present, with such force and clearness that I found that 
the so-called modern statesmen may better sit at the feet of the 
grand old man for instruction even in their chosen lines. 

Most of us think we are doing well when Ve deal with 
a few subjects of importance. But he seemed to have mastered 
many. In those days he had the burden of public affairs 
which men in our times hardly realize. The vast and various 
questions of war and reconstruction, of finance and resump- 
tion of specie payments, of commerce and shipping, of the 
proper reduction of our army, of Indian and land matters then 
of vast importance, and of encouragement for the building of 
railroads and improving our water ways without robbing and 
impoverishing our people, and multitudes of smaller and yet 
most important questions, w r ere connected with the close of 
the great and destructive war and with the development of a 
new country, populated by the most vigorous and restless and 
progressive pioneers the world has ever seen. These latter 
topics alone would create a vast amount of difficult business at 
all times. 

It is given to few men in public life to stand in the front 
rank and perform notable public acts so that the world will 
acclaim them as great. In our country, Washington and Jef- 
ferson, Webster and Clay, Lincoln and Seward, had the op- 
portunity. Even these men could have accomplished nothing 
unless they had been loyally supported by that second rank of 
patriotic, wise and strong men who stood between these lead- 
ers and the people and carried on the vast and varied business 
of a rapidly growing country. These men may not have 
achieved so much fame with the populace, but after all their 
services were of the utmost value and necessity. Ramsey was 
one of them and will always be remembered as of those who 
supported the great chieftains wisely and strongly in the dark- 
days of the nation's extremity. 

A new country is largely what its pioneers make it. They 
fix the character and the trend of its development Their lives, 
plans, and guidance, mostly determine its possibilities and use- 


fulness. We younger men have been so fortunate as to have 
our ways directed to this fair land after the stress and strug- 
gles of pioneering had passed, and when all of the accompani- 
ments of the highest and most delightful civilization were 
present; and we can never- honor too highly the men who 
brought these wonderful things to pass. 

We shall always find an inspiration for well doing in pub- 
lic and private capacity in the life and works of Alexander 

Mr. Henry S. Fairchild said: 

We have met here to do honor to the memory of a very 
distinguished man, who to many of us was a warm personal 

At our last meeting we listened to an able, a very eloquent, 
and well deserved tribute to Governor Ramsey, by General 
James H. Baker; and he and those who have preceded me to- 
night have covered fully his remarkable public life and his per- 
sonal characteristics. It is only left to me to allude to a few 
traits of the character of Governor Ramsey that strongly im- 
pressed me in the last few years when business relations threw 
us into close association. 

In these years I have heard him relate much of the public 
men of the nation with whom he had come in contact, and much 
of his fellow pioneers of this State, of whom some had been 
lifelong political friends, some political opponents, and a few 
personal enemies (for all men of positive character must have 
enemies), and a broad spirit of charity characterized all his 
utterances. I cannot recall a single instance in which he in- 
dulged in detraction or disparagement of his opponents, even 
when some of them had participated in defrauding him of the 
governorship to which all now know he was fairly elected in 
the first contest. 

His kindheartedness was illustrated by his retaining ser- 
vants and tenants for twenty or thirty years, not always for 
their worthiness, but because he had come to know them well, 
and his sympathies would not permit their discharge. 


Men exalted to high stations often lose touch with the mass 
of humanity. Not so with Alexander Ramsey. It was his for- 
tune to have known well most of the distinguished men of our 
country o! the last two generations, yet he never lost touch with 
the humblest of his fellow citizens, especially of the old settlers. 
He met them always with a pleasant smile and cordial shake of 
the hand, and was by them universally loved. 

When he lay in state at the Capitol, I stood and wa'tched 
with interest the thronging thousands pass his bier, once more 
to look on the face of the "Grand Old Man," whom they rev- 
ered and loved. 

When Abou Ben Adhem saw the angel writing in the 
"Book of Gold'' in the soft moonlight of his room, he made 
bold to ask the Celestial Presence, "What writest thou?" The 
angel answered, "The names of those who love the Lord." 
Abou asked, "And is mine one?" The angel, with a sweet, sad 
face, answered, "Nay, not so." Then Ben Adhem humbly said, 
"Write me as one that loves his fellow men." The next night 
the angel came with a great wakening light, 

"And showed the names whom love of God had bless'd, 
And lo! Ben Adhem's name led all the rest." 

More and more, as the earth circles the sun men will be 
judged by men (and is man more merciful than God?) in ac- 
cordance with the quality of their hearts and their love of their 
fellow men, rather than by the quality of their judgment, their 
creeds, or beliefs. 

In the last few years Governor Ramsey thought i much and 
talked often, when none others were by, of the great, and, 
through all time, perplexing mysteries of life and destiny. 

"Where rest the secrets? where the keys 
Of the old death-bolted mysteries? 
Alas! the dead retain their trust, 
Dust has no answer from the dust." 

I remember well his speaking of having often listened to 
a, distinguished senator from Ohio, who had made a study of 
all religions and philosophies, which in a degree unsettled his 
faith, and he said he often regretted having heard him ; — that 


he wished that he could have remained in the simple comfort- 
ing faith of his sainted mother. 

Pardon me, Mr. President, if, impelled by the knowledge of 
the growing current of the thought of the day, I say it is not 
accordant with reason or intuition that instinct should lead 
aright the squirrel and the bee to lay up stores for the winter of 
whose needs they have had no experience, — that instinct should 
teach the wild waterfowl to wing their way to the far' Xorth, 
to nest and rear their brood in safety on the reedy margins of 
the lakes in the unpeopled wilderness, — that instinct should 
lead aright all the lower ranks of creation; and that the uni- 
versal instinct of man, the highest order in creation, — the in- 
stinct of man, civilized or savage, in all nations and in all climes, 
— should lead him amiss as to life after death, the immortality 
of the soul. 

And so, independent of authority and despite the oracles of 
modern science, we may rest assured that our friend still lives. 
The bars that caged his soul have been drawn away, and the 
perplexing mysteries so insolvabie to our feeble finite faculties, 
with a naturally narrow limitation increased by the mists and 
clouds of passion and prejudice, have doubtless all been made 
clear to the unfettered spirit of our friend. But where and how 
the after and higher life is led, we know not. Our sweetest 
singer says : 

"I know not where His islands lift 

Their f ronded palms in air ; 
I only know 1 cannot drift 

Beyond His love and care." 

Mr. A. L. Larpenteur said : 

Alexander Ramsey is dead. Goodbye, old friend ; you have 
preceded us but a few days. Children, accept our sincere con- 
dolence, which we offer you on this day of your sad bereave- 
ment, and the sentiments of a bleeding heart, and bow with 
humble supplication to the will of Him who created him. His 
work was done and God called him home to rest. 

We shall miss him from our festive hoard where it has 

been my privilege to sit with him for fifty odd years. Eighty- 
eight years of usefulness! What a lesson for others to emulate! 


He has paid the debt due to our humanity, and his Creator has 
said to him, "Come home, good and faithful servant and reap 
your reward." 

Minnesota owes you much. You took her while in her 
swaddling clothes; by your wisdom and sagacity you nursed 
her into maturity. And then again you were called upon to care 
for her in the Nation's greatest need. By your wise and pru- 
dent judgment of men and measures, you failed not to call' into 
your counsels our best men for your lieutenants, as demonstrated 
in the selection of that Christian gentleman, the poor man's 
friend, General Henry H. Sibley, capable and honorable. Hence 
your administrations have been ever successful. Minnesota has 
honored you, 'tis true, but no more than you have honored her. 

The name of Alexander Ramsey should be inscribed upon 
the indestructible Rock of Time, there to remain as a contribu- 
tion from the State of Minnesota to History, in veneration of 
one of the most illustrious pioneers and founders of this great 
State, "Minnesota, the Gem of the Constellation." 

Mrs. Vinnie Ream Hoxie said: 

It would be superfluous for me to speak of the estimation 
in which Alexander Ramsey was held in this State, where he 
was loved so well, but of my personal experience I may briefly 

When, as scarcely more than a child. I competed for the 
honor of making the statue of Abraham Lincoln, he and other 
senators befriended the little western girl. President Lincoln 
had given me sittings at the White House for a bust, which was 
one of my earliest works, and I had been engaged on it five 
months when he was assassinated. He had become mv warm 
friend, and was much pleased with the likeness I had made. 
Immediately after his death, Congress appropriated ten thous- 
and dollars for a statue of the martyred President, which was 
to be in marble and placed in the rotunda of the Capitol. It 
required a great deal of courage in these men to be the friend 
of an unknown artist, who was daring to compete with ex- 
perienced and famous sculptors, and I determined not to dis- 
appoint them. 




Again, when I competed for the statue of Farragut, they 
stood by me with renewed zeal. 

You can imagine, therefore, my mingled feelings of sorrow 
and gladness in having this public opportunity of expressing my 
gratitude, which has filled my heart to overflowing for many 

All hail to Ramsey, great, good, tender-hearted leader ! The 
memory of his life will help other men to live. All the youth 
of Minnesota have inherited from him the example of a great 
life and character. 

General James H. Baker spoke as follows: 

Referring to the recent Memorial Eulogy which I had the 
honor to deliver on the life and character of Alexander Ramsey, 
a question has arisen as to the correctness of the statement 
therein contained, that one of the noblest features of the treaty 
of 185 1 was the fact of its absolutely pacific character, "not a 
soldier being present, nor were they at any time required." 

Several eminent gentlemen are of the opinion that I was 
in error as to this statement, that there were no soldiers pres- 
ent at the time of the treaty. Among them are men such as 
Joseph A. Wheelock and General William G. Le Due, each so 
well qualified to determine a historic question of that sort. I 
have also received several letters of like import. I respectfully 
insist, however, that I am absolutely correct. For this reason, 
among others, I placed the Ramsey treaty on the high moral 
plane of William Penn's celebrated treaty. 

Now as to my authority for its absolutely pacific character : 
the only regular correspondent on the ground at Traverse des 
Sioux during the time of the treaty was James M. Goodhue, of 
the Pioneer, to whose elaborate letters we are chiefly indebted 
for a history of the treaty. They are on file in our vaults, and 
I have read them with care. 

Under date of June 29, 1S51, Goodhue says: "Arriving at 
Mendota, we took on board cattle, supplies, and wood. Then 
crossing over to Fort Snelling, Governor Ramsev came OH 
board. It was expected that a company of dragoons from the 
fort would have gone up on the boat to be in Attendance at the 


treaty, but the notice for their departure had been so brief that 
they were not in readiness, and so the boat departed without 

Nowhere in his series of daily letters does he subsequently 
refer to the arrival of any soldiers, but, on the contrary, in a 
very brilliant description of the scene, written July 15, 1851, he 
says: "Behold yonder on the sleeping- hillside, the glorious flag 
of our country, every wave of which sends a pulsation of pride 
through American hearts, under its protection; a few tents and 
marquees, of a handful of men, constitute the Commission, un- 
guarded by a single sentinel or musket, amid hundreds of sav- 

in a subsequent letter he gives the names of all the white 
men present at the treaty, as follows : "I will here give a list, as 
nearly as I can, of all the white men who compose our camp. 
Commissioners Lea and Ramsey, Secretary Foster, Hugh Tyler, 
Colonel Henderson, A. S. White, Wallace B. White, Alexis 
Bailly, F. Brown, R. Chute and lady, Messrs. Lord, Mayer, M. 
McLeod, Riggs, Williamson, H. Jackson, Hartshorn, J. R. 
Brown, H. L. Dousman, K. M'cKenzie, H. H. Sibley, J. La 
Framboise, W. H. Forbes, A. Faribault, and myself, and prob- 
ably several others whose names do not occur to me." 

Turn now to the U. S. Executive Documents, War Depart- 
ment, 1 85 1, on file in our Library, and you will find, in the report 
of the colonel commanding- at Fort Snelling that year, that he 
recites the causes why he was unable to respond to Governor 
Ramsey's request to send troops to the Sioux treaty at Traverse 
des Sioux, 185 1. But now turn to these Executive Documents, 
1852, of the War Department, and you will find the report of 
one Captain James Monroe, who was sent by the colonel com- 
manding at Fort Snelling, at the request' of Governor Ramsey, 
because of trouble with the Indians at the time of the payment, 
which report bears date November 19, 1852. 

My good friends, Wheclock and Le Due, have simply con- 
founded events which occurred at the time of the payment with 
those of the treaty. The payment of money required by the 
terms of the treaty made in 1851, was not made till more than 
a year later, on November 19, [852, when a part of the Indians, 

principally chiefs and head men, were re-assembled at Traverse 
des Sioux to receive their money. And it was on account of 



serious difficulties with the Indians, by reason of the traders 
claiming most of the money, that Governor Ramsey was com- 
pelled to dispatch a courier to Fort Snelling for soldiers, which 
was responded to promptly by the coming of Captain Monroe 
with some forty dragoons. 

That was the time, as the record shows, of the difficulties 
with the chief, Red Iron, and also with Captain Dodds. This 
was the time (November, 1852) when Red Iron became furious 
and organized the "soldiers' lodge" to resist the results of the 
treaty, and Governor Ramsey showed his courage and intrepid- 
ity by boldly confronting Red Iron, and actually casting him 
into prison, before the coming of the soldiers. 

My friends have simply confounded the events of 1852 
with the events of 1851, which, after a lapse of more than half a 
century, is not surprising. 

Finally and conclusively, when Mr. Thomas Hughes, of 
Mankato, was preparing his excellent and exhaustive paper, "The 
Treaty of Traverse des Sioux," read before this society on Sep- 
tember 9, 1901, with that care which always marks his historic 
researches, he visited Governor Ramsey in this city, and they 
went over the whole matter of the treaty in detail. Among the 
specific questions that Mr. Hughes asked Governor Ramsey, 
was, whether there were any soldiers present at the treaty, and 
he promptly replied, "No, there was not a single soldier present 
during the entire time of the treaty ; but the next year, at the 
time of the payment, 1852, I had serious trouble with Red Iron 
and his followers, and I sent a hasty messenger to Fort Snelling, 
and Captain Monroe came promptly to my assistance. There 
was not a soldier present during the time of the treaty. We had 
perfect peace and good order, though there were thousands of 

Mr. Hughes' history of the treaty will always stand as au- 
thority on that matter, as it. richly deserves, by reason of the 
thorough care bestowed in its preparation. It assigns him a 
high position as a careful and valuable historian. It will be pub- 
lished in Volume X of this Society's Historical Collections. 

I have been thus particular in setting at rest the rumor that 
there were soldiers present at this great treaty of 1S51. because 
I have taken pride in bringing to the public eve the potent in- 


fluence of that treaty upon the fortunes of Minnesota. And, 
moreover, the purely pacific character of the treaty was one of 
its crowning glories. I do not wish to see that laurel plucked 
away. To have soldiers there, would indicate some menace, or 
threat, or pressure upon the Indians. As the treaty now stands, 
historically, in all its essential features, it far outranks the cele- 
brated treaty of William Penn, in 1683, and was the most peace- 
ful, just, and orderly treaty, in all its appointments, magnitude, 
conduct, and results, ever negotiated with the aborigines of this 
country. And through it all Alexander Ramsey was the dom- 
inant and controlling spirit. 

The Secretary, Mr. Warren Upham, spoke last in this 
series of Memorial Addresses, as follows: 

After a ' little more than seven years of association with 
Governor Ramsey in the work of this Society, I wish here to 
speak briefly, as my personal tribute of honor and love for him, 
of two admirable qualities of mind and character which he pos- 
sessed in a most remarkable and unusual degree. 

Having heard him converse times without number concern- 
ing the old settlers and the great leaders of our Territory and 
State, some of whom were politically his co-workers and others 
his opponents, I have never heard him express a word or 
thought of unkindness or depreciation of any person among all 
this very wide range of acquaintance through his fifty-four years 
of life in Minnesota. In general courtesy, sincere forgiveness 
of early wrongs and defamation, and a hearty kindness to all, 
from former political antagonists to the servants at his home, or 
to the worthy poor of this city, Governor Ramsey displayed in- 
variably a very rare and grand magnanimity, a true greatness 
of spirit and nobility, which distinguished him as much as his 
long public services and honors. This quality gave him a serene 
arid happy old age. 

Another and equally observable characteristic was his en- 
tire freedom from self complaisance or even conseionsness of his 
own achievements or greatness. Egotism had no place in his 
conversation or conduct. During all the sixty years of his pub- 
lic life, in Pennsylvania and Minnesota, he kept a series of 
diaries or memorandum books, noting events, names, and dates, 


with occasional comments, which might be desired for future 
reference. These very concise contemporary records are of ines- 
timable value for a biography of Governor Ramsey, and indeed 
for the broader history of Minnesota, to which he was often urg- 
ed by the Council of this Society, that an assistant should work 
with him and have his life written and published under his 
supervision and approval. But this very earnest and repeated 
request was unavailing, because he had no desire for publication 
of any records concerning himself. Let us hope that this" work 
will yet be done worthily, with filial care, to be a volume of this 
Society's Collections. 

Among the grand statesmen who have nurtured and led our 
Territory and State through its first half century, Alexander 
Ramsey is preeminent, clearly recognized as the foremost, to 
whom the people of Minnesota owe the highest gratitude and 
honor. He had noble associates, as Sibley, Race, Windom, 
Davis, Pillsbury, and others. We are so near to all these men, 
as in a range or group of mountains, that we cannot yet see 
fully their relative altitudes, but it is distinctly seen that Ramsey 
is the highest and first. 

By many of our citizens he is best remembered as the vig- 
orous "War Governor," who was the first to offer a regiment to 
President Lincoln in the dark days at the beginning of the Civil 
War, and who organized efficient defense of our frontier and 
suppression of the Sioux outbreak in 1862. 

By others, of the younger generation, he will be known 
chiefly as a historic personage, by whom the treaties of 185 1 at 
Traverse des Sioux and Mcndota, and that of 1863 with the 
Ojibways of the Red river region, were enacted, giving to 
white immigrants nearly the whole of the fertile prairie coun- 
try in this state. He will also be forever gratefully remembered 
by all teachers and pupils in our schools, as the founder of the 
state's magnificent public school fund. 

In view of all his splendid services, and of the general pop- 
ular regard and affection for the old governor, which General 
Baker so well emphasized in his recent address, it may very 
fittingly be said of Alexander Ramsey in his relations to the peo- 
ple of Minnesota, as was said of Washington in his relation to 
the beginning of our republic, that he was "First in war, first in 
peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen." 

Minnesota IIistohicat. Society, 
Vol. X. Plate XIX. 

9, 1903. 



Ladies and Gentlemen: The Executive Council of this So- 
ciety has directed that the remaining portion of this evening shall 
be devoted to memorial addresses upon the life and services of our 
deceased councilor, friend, and brother, Hon. Charles E. Flan- 
drau. These addresses must impress us with the great obliga- 
tions that the citizens of the State and society generally owe to a 
few of the leading citizens of the generation that has passed or is 
rapidly passing away . 

An organized State, containing two millions of people, with 
all its institutions of learning, of benevolence, and charity, dis- 
pensing knowledge, health, and happiness to all classes, that has 
grown up within the short period of fifty-fcur years, is not the re- 
sult of mere chance and natural development. There must have 
been foresight, wisdom, energy, constantly applied to its organi- 
zation, development, and establishment. The wisdom has been 
that of the ablest and best minds, and the energy that of the most 
vigorous and strong men, while the beneficial results come to all 
citizens of the State, and to all falling within its sphere of influ- 

In looking back over the fifty-four years since the organiza- 
tion of Minnesota Territory, and scanning the names of those 
who have been most prominent and influential in promoting the 
growth of the State and the happiness of its people, we observe 
none who have wrought more constantly or zealously for the 
public welfare than our departed brother. It was his privilege to 
stand at the head of the stream from and through which have 
flowed all those great results which we are permitted to witness 
and enjoy. His hand is visible in nearly every provision of our 


state constitution, and in the construction and application of those 
provisions to the real necessities and conditions of Minnesota 
life; in the enactment and interpretation of the laws passed by our 
legislature; and in the general policies of the state, which now 
affect all its citizens, and which will continue to affect all sub- 
sequent generations. 

This Historical Society, as much as any branch of the state 
government, has been placed under especial obligations to our 
deceased brother. He has formulated more of the early history 
of the state than any other member of our Society, or than any 
citizen of the State, unless it be the Rev. E. D. Neill. He has 
been a regular attendant of the monthly meetings of the Society 
for more than twenty years, and it is altogether appropriate that 
here, above all other places, his memory should be kept green, 
and the traits of his character, among which are benevolence and 
beneficence to an extraordinary degree, should be preserved as 
ensamples to all . 

I have the pleasure of introducing to you Hon. Greenleaf - 
Clark, who was for many years a law partner of Judge Flandrau, 
who is most familiar with all phases of his character, who will 
now address you. 




It is the pious duty of this Society, our privilege, and our 
consolation, to set forth in connected outline a notable career. It 
would be strange, indeed, if this Society should not redeem its 
office of preserving the materials of history and biography, and of 
portraying "the very pith and marrow of the times," by the pres- 
ervation of the record of the life and character of one who had so 
great a share in making history, and who did so much in the 
counsels of the society to preserve it. It would be stranger still, 
when the public press, and varied associations and bodies of men, 
are bearing tribute and homage to the memory of Charles Eu- 
gene Flandrau, if we should not bring a few affectionate and 
grateful leaves to set in the garland with which they are binding 
his brow. 

He died on the 9th day of September, 1903, a member of our 
Executive Council, after nearly twenty-two years of consecutive 
service therein, during which he was constant in attendance on 
its meetings, contributed to its stores many valuable writings, 
sketches, episodes, books, relics, and mementoes, engaged in its 
free discussions, and was interested, devoted, and helpful in all 
its work. He contributed, it is thought, to the Society, in one 
way and another, more of the materials of history than any other 
one man, save only the Rev. Dr. Edward D. NeilL 

Charles E. Flandrau was no ordinary man. He was not 
of the ordinary type of man. He was original, unique, pictures- 
que, versatile, adventurous ; and his career is illuminated by the 
light of an heroic spirit. He was born in New York, July 15th, 
1828. He was descended on his father's side from the Hugue- 
nots, that wonderful people, who by the abiding power of earnest 



conviction, through marvelous vicissitudes of toleration and per- 
secution, of peace and woe, kept alive in France the spirit of con- 
stitutional and religious liberty, from the middle of the sixteenth 
century to the close of the eighteenth; the forerunners of the 
French Republic. The blood ran true on the line of personal 
and religious freedom. Judge Flandrau was absolutely tolerant 
of all sects and creeds, and had little sympathy with the sectarian 
disputes and contentions of the day, and still less for the warring 
religious factions revealed in history as "fighting like devils for 
conciliation, and hating each other for the love of God." 

In his boyhood he was put to school in Georgetown, District 
of Columbia. At the age of thirteen he left school, and shipped 
as a common seaman on a United States revenue cutter, in which 
service, and a few voyages on merchant vessels, he continued for 
more than two years. So early appeared the restless spirit of 
adventure. It was a turning away from the trite and ordinary, 
to the strange, new, and majestic; a turning away from the nar- 
row and uneventful confines of a schoolroom, to know and feel 
the spell and power of the mighty deep. It was the same spirit 
that took Henry M. Rice and Henry H. Sibley to the wilds of 
Minnesota. Fie then returned to his books in Georgetown, but 
only for a short time; after which he worked three years with his 
hands, at the trade of sawing mahogany veneers for cabinet 

After these two exploits, he settled down to the earnest 
study of the law in his father's office in Whitesboro, New York ; 
and, after his admission to the bar, he practiced for two years in 
association with his father, and then left in company with his life- 
long friend, the late Horace R. Bigelow, for the west; and the 
two reached St. Paul on the 2nd day of November, 1853, anc * 
formed a partnership for the practice of the law. Business did 
not flow in upon them very fast ; indeed, there was not very much 
to flow anywhere; and Bigelow went to teaching school in St. 
Paul, while Flandrau, true to his star, started for the border. 

Such was the start of two men, who, afterwards, became emi- 
nent in the law. 

Mr. Flandrau travelled extensively through the virgin forests 
and majestic prairies, dotted with lakes set in the landscape like 
ftcms, and by the rivers whose sweet waters flowed through batiks 


of pristine form and beauty, far away to swell the tide of the 
mighty ocean, upon whose restless billows he had sailed, to see 
what nature had wrought in this his adopted land ; and finally he 
settled down, among the settlers at the little hamlet of Traverse 
des Sioux, on the banks of the beautiful Minnesota river, where 
he afterwards built a dwelling for his border home, and com- 
menced again the practice of the law. The courts, land offices, 
and justices, in, and before whom/ he practiced, were widely 
scattered, and some of them at long distances from his home; 
and he would travel on foot in summer and winter to attend them. 
He had a strong, wiry physique, in which muscle predominated, 
and legs like an antelope. He would walk to Winona, a distance of 
one hundred and fifty miles, in three days, to attend to the adjust- 
ment of the rights of his neighbor settlers before the land office 
there, and would go on foot from his home near St. Peter to St. 
Paul, a distance of about seventy-five miles, stopping over only at 
Shakopee. Up to two years before he died he would walk a 
dozen miles for recreation. In this border life he soon became 
known throughout the Minnesota valley, and acquired a com- 
manding influence upon its people. They respected, believed in, 
relied upon, trusted him, and looked to him for leadership and 
guidance, aye! and for help, too, in time of trouble. They sent 
him to represent them in the Territorial Council, and in the Con- 
stitutional Convention which framed the constitution under which 
the State was admitted to the Union. This trust and confidence 
enabled him to do mighty things for them on a subsequent fate- 
ful day. 

In 1856 he was appointed by President Pierce as Indian 
Agent for the Sioux nation, and continued in that service till he 
was appointed, in 1857, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of 
the Territory. The former position brought him in close con* 
tact with the Indians, and he learned something of their language, 
and much of their character, capacity, and habits of life; and he 
came to have more respect for them than was entertained by those 
who knew them less. 

Here let it be said that the men who were brought in closest 
contact with the Indians who occupied Minnesota, and knew them 
best, placed the highest estimate on their mental endowments and 
traits of character; and I instance Rice, Sibley, Bishop Whipple, 


and Flandrau . General Sibley, pleading in the halls of Congress 
for the amelioration of their condition, characterized them as "a 
noble race, gifted with a high degree of intellect, and an aptitude 
for acquiring knowledge fully equal to that possessed by white 
men." Judge Flandrau, in his History of Minnesota, designates 
the Sioux and Ojibways as "splendid races of aboriginal men." 
Bishop Whipple, in a communication to the authorities at Wash- 
ington, says : "The Indian is superior to any savage -race on 
earth. In all the features of his character he is like our own 
Saxon race, before the cross had changed the heathen Saxon to 
.a manly Christian/' And as respects skill in warfare, I may add 
the testimony of army officers to the sagacity of their operations, 
notably the remarkable retreat of Chief Joseph from the southern 
part of the country to the British line, a retreat comparable to that 
of the "Ten Thousand." 

The Indian massacres are all traceable, in the last analysis, 
to the encroachments upon their hunting grounds, their birthright, 
as they considered them, and to the means by which they were 
deprived of them, or forced to give them up ; not that the Govern- 
ment or its agents meant to be unjust, but because such compensa- 
tion as they got for these lands, by a treaty system of questionable 
wisdom, was dissipated by their own improvidence, or filched from 
them by the selfish greed and cupidity of white men, from both 
of which they should have been protected. The lordly Sioux, 
who had for centuries held it as his right to receive his sustenance 
from the open hand of nature, by the pursuit and capture of wild 
animals, birds and fishes, and the gathering of the berries, nuts, 
and wild rice, and who, by the roving blood of centuries in his 
veins, disdained to settle down on a little plot of ground, and 
tease from reluctant nature the means of subsistence for a com- 
pensation of toil, must needs give up his noble heritage to open the 
way for the new civilization . It was cruel at best ; and his 
wrongs in the process added to the cruelty. No wonder that his 
untutored mind was, now and then, driven to the distraction of 
savage vengeance. Whatever others may have thought, or now 
think, such in epitome, was the view of these men, and obedience 
to the truth requires that their combined testimony should be 


The first serious Indian massacre in Minnesota, or in the 
country northwest of the Mississippi to the Rocky mountains, — 
the so-called Spirit Lake massacre, — occurred during Flandrau's 
agency in 1857; and an incident of it illustrates saving traits of 
Indian character, as well as the sagacity and efficiency of the, In- 
dian agent. 

A small roving and predatory band of Sioux, not treaty In- 
dians, under the leadership of Chief Inkpaduta, fell upon -Spirit 
Lake and Springfield, two small settlements pushed to the ex- 
treme border, and killed all their inhabitants to the number of 
forty-two, save four women whom they carried into captivity. 
While Flandrau was trying to devise means for their rescue, well 
knowing that any demonstration of force would cause their mur- 
der, two of his agency Indians, brothers, who had been under the 
influence of the well known Rev. Stephen R, Riggs and other 
missionaries at the agency, while on a hunting party, ran across 
Inkpaduta's band, learned of his captives, bought one of them, 
giving for her all they had, and brought her to the missionaries, 
who turned her over to the agent. This solved the problem. 
Judge Flandrau gave the brothers who brought in the captive a 
large reward, $1,000, of which $500 was in cash contributed by 
himself and the post traders, and $500 in an obligation of the 
Territory of Minnesota, signed in its behalf by himself and the 
Rev. Mr. Riggs, which, though unauthorized, was promptly 
paid ; the first bond, as Judge Flandrau naively said, ever issued 
by Minnesota. He then called for volunteer Indians to go and 
find Inkpaduta and purchase the other captives ; and, stimulated 
by the hope of a like reward, there were plenty of volunteers, from 
whom he selected three and dispatched them, with an outfit cf such 
things as tempt the savage, to find Inkpaduta and buy the remain- 
ing captives. They found two of them had been slain, but they 
bought and brought to the agency the other, for which they were 
abundantly rewarded. The full details of this massacre, and the 
military operations consequent upon it. — which were without re- 
sults save the killing of a son of Chief Inkpaduta, — are now mat- 
ters of history, made such by Judge Flandrau's pen. 

At the first State election he was elected, at the age of twenty* 
nine years, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court on the Demo- 
cratic ticket, headed by Henry II. Sibley for governor; and it is 


interesting to know that upon the opposing ticket, headed by 
Alexander Ramsey for governor, was his friend and companion, 
Horace R. Bigelow, as a candiate for Chief Justice of the same 
Court. The Sibley ticket was declared elected, and with it Judge 
Flandrau, who thus became a judge of the first Supreme Court 
of the State; but the doubt that hung over the decision of that 
contest has never been dissolved, but rather intensified by time. 
He resigned from the bench in 1866, before his term expired, and 
went to Carson City, in the Territory of Nevada. It was a change 
from the green prairies of Minnesota to dwell, for a time, under 
the brightest of skies, looking down upon a vast, tumultuous, 
rock-ribbed expanse of silent, arid, awe-inspiring desolation; a 
change from the new civilization which he had helped to usher in 
in Minnesota, to the rough, adventurous, lawless, desperate, and 
unformed community of an isolated mining town, to practice law 
in courts where weapons were sometimes exhibited, and tolerated, 
too, for intimidation or protection; still cavalier of the border, as 
he has been fitly designated. 

After a few years' experience of this life, he returned to Min- 
nesota, his adopted home, which I doubt if he ever intended to 
leave permanently, practiced law for a while in Minneapolis in 
association with Judge Isaac Atwater, his erstwhile associate on 
the bench, and, in 1870, settled down for good to the practice of 
the law in St. Paul, as a member of the firm of Bigelow, Flandrau 
& Clark. He was thus again brought into business association 
with his old friend and companion, Horace R. Bigelow, who back 
in 1853 had first essayed with him the practice of the law in Min- 
nesota; and the relation continued until the retirement of Mr. 
Bigelow from practice. There was a strong tie between these 
two men, though they were contrasts. Mr. Bigelow was a rare 
man, endowed with clear perception, solid learning, professional 
courage, a spirit of patient investigation, and a devotion to duty 
that knew no bounds. He had few peers and no superiors in 
the Northwest. Judge Flandrau was impulsive and spontane- 
ous. His first impressions were intuitions of legal truth, and he 
was always ready for the fray. Bigelow was a legal conscience, 
Flandrau a legal knight-errant, sans pcur ct sans rcproche. 

Of Judge Flandrau as a lawyer and a jurist I shall only add, 
that there was such appreciation of him as a judge, that he was 


again made a candidate for Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, 
but was not elected, — his party being in a minority, — and the 
expression of an opinion that his gifts were better adapted to the 
trial court than the bench ; and that, in fact, the arena and the 
forum were more congenial and grateful to him than the seclusion 
of the consultation room ; and with this I leave the exhibition and 
characterization of his professional and judicial career in the 
competent hands of another. 

He had marked and famous contemporaries with and among 
whom he wrought. In the law, I have already spoken of Air. 
Bigelow; and there was James Gilfillan, the great Chief Justice, 
a giant of jurisprudence anywhere; and Francis R. E. Cornell, 
keen, penetrating and incisive, the Bradley of the Minnesota 
bench; and John M'. Gilman, whose logic cuts like a knife, and 
who is sometimes seen renewing the attempt to "cut blocks with 
\ a razor;" and Cushman K. Davis, classical and scholarly, whose 
brilliant rhetoric carried with it the power to persuade as well as 
to charm. In civic affairs there were, naming them in the order 
in which they appeared on the scene, Henry H . Sibley, Henry M . 
Rice, and Alexander Ramsey, the State builders. 

I come now to speak of a service of an episodal nature, out- 
side of the then smooth current of his life, splendidly illustrative 
of his spontaneity, Intrepidity and unconquerable spirit, for which 
I am constrained to think that he never received the full and 
ample plaudits that heroic deeds inspire and justify; probably for 
the reason that they were done at a time when people's minds were 
diverted to striking and absorbing events on larger fields, but not 
more heroic or memorable. It is the privilege of this society to 
accord to Flandrau, dead, the meed of praise to which he was 
entitled when living. While Judge Flandrau, then a judge of 
the Supreme Court, was quietly spending his vacation at his coun- 
try home in Traverse des Sioux, a courier arrived at his house at 
four o'clock in the morning of the 19th of August, 1862, and told 
him that the Indians were killing the people in all directions, and 
that New Ulm was threatened. About noon of the same day he 
left St. Peter, which was near his home, in command of an im- 
provised company of one hundred and sixteen men. ami arrived 
at New Ulm about eight o'clock of the same day, after a march 
of thirty-two miles through a drenching rain. Reinforcements 


of brave men came into the town from other places ; and Judge 
Flandrau was, by general acclaim, made commander in chief of 
all the forces. 

It is not my purpose to relate the history of that desperate 
struggle. This is in more competent hands; and it will be given 
by the favor of one who was present all the time, was near to 
Flandrau as an officer of his staff, and who shared with him the 
glories of the struggle, Major Salmon A. Buell. I shall only 
mention some of the general features of this memorable service, 
so as to give it a proper setting in this picture of his life which I 
am attempting. He made the disposition of his forces behind 
the improvised barricades, and exhorted the men, by all that life 
held for them, to stand against the insidious attacks of the red- 
handed demons, who were thirsting for their blood . He shared the 
peril, and set them an example of superb courage and unconquer- 
able determination. He devised and led the desperate offensive 
movement which drove the Indians from the cover of the buildings 
they had taken, and saved the day. He burned, before the faces 
of their owners, 125 houses and stores, from the cover of which 
the Indians had been driven, in order that they might be compelled 
to attack the barricades in the open. He transferred the entire 
population of New Ulm, consisting of from twelve to fifteen hun- 
dred men, women, and children, to Mankato, leaving behind them 
their property, their homes, and their household gods, in order 
that they might be saved alive. No despot ever exercised more 
absolute power, or was more implicitly obeyed. He told me, with 
great glee, that a staid old German, who did gallant service in the 
struggle, seriously proposed to him to try two men at drum head 
court martial, and to hang them, for some irregularity or neglect 
cf duty. And yet he took all this responsibility without a scratch 
of a pen, without even a verbal order by way of authority. 

As Ethan Allen, when asked by the British general by what 
authority he demanded the surrender of Ticonderoga, answered, 
"In the name of the great Jehovah and the continental congress 
so Flandrau, if interrogated as to his authority, might well have 
answered, by the authority of the great Jehovah and the people 
of the Minnesota valley. Governor Ramsey addressed him as 
"Hon. Charles E. Flandrau, " up to September 4th, he having 
been commissioned a colonel about that date. 


Again, in talking with military men I have never met with 
one who did not say that the battle of New Ulm was ably con- 
ducted from a military point of view, though Flandrau was with- 
out military education or experience . On the 5th day of October 
he resigned his commission, and went quietly back to his duties 
as judge. If Flandrau had not been at New Ulm, what would 
have been its fate ? Would the whole population have gone down 
in one maelstrom of wretched destruction? Who can tell? 
Would the besom of savage desolation have been pushed on down 
the valley? Who knows? It is useless to speculate. But the 
people of New Ulm and the valley had abundant reason to thank 
God for Flandrau in those fateful days. If one blast upon the 
bugle horn of Roderick Dhu was worth a thousand men, so the 
inspiration, intrepidity, and magnificent leadership of Flandrau 
in those desperate extremities were worth a host. The people of 
New Ulm always recognized the debt of gratitude . His presence 
there was known and felt as that of no other ^man was known and 
felt. He was received with a general acclaim that no other man 
was receivd with. And he had a warm spot in his heart for 
them. A community of peril had made them akin. When he 
died, they sent, not a delegation to attend the funeral, for that 
would be too cold and formal, — not words, for they had lost the 
power of adequate expression, — but New Ulm, not a personal 
friend or a few friends in New Ulm, but New Ulm sent to the 
sorrowing family a wreath of flowers, which was buried with him 
in the grave. Go, assemble the records of chivalry; point out 
the most memorable deeds recorded there, and those that surpass 
in heroism the deeds of Flandrau at New Ulm will be found to 
be few indeed. I hope that at no distant day a lofty pedestal will 
be erected in New Ulm, or on the grounds of the capitol, which 
shall be surmounted by his statue and shall bear the inscription, 
"Charles Eugene Flandrau, defender of New Ulm." 

Among the gentle traits that characterized Judge Flandrau 
were remarkable evenness and sweetness of temper and disposi- 
tion. In ten years of close association with him I never saw him 
perturbed, much less thrown off his base, by anger, He was 
kind and considerate, and, under all circumstances, a gentleman. 
In the most strenuous law suit he was courteous to the Court, the 
opposing counsel, and the witnesses. He was not vituperative of 


others, even under great provocation, but was generous and char- 
itable to their faults and frailties. If he left an enemy when he 
died, I know him not. Like every strong and high-minded man, 
he was deferential to women . 

. His published writings comprise a condensed history of 
Minnesota, published in 1900, as a preface to an Encyclopedia of 
Biography of Minnesota, and later as a separate book; articles 
published in the magazines of the day ; and many papers scattered 
through the publications of this Society. He was one of a board 
of six commissioners who prepared and published, by authority 
of the Legislature, the military history known as "Minnesota in 
the Civil and Indians Wars, 1861-1865," for which he wrote the 
part pertaining to the Indian War. Most, if not all, of these 
writings were historical, biographical, or episodic in their nature. 
He rescued from oblivion interesting episodes of the early days, 
some of which changed the course of events of some importance, 
as, for example, the unique if not creditable way in which the 
almost accomplished removal of the capitol to St. Peter was de- 
feated, though he had no hand in it. 

His style was flowing, and in plain, unadorned narration, 
destitute of metaphor and of classic allusion. His early edu- 
cation in the schools was, as already appears, defective; but, 
as far as possible in a busy life, the defects in his early educa- 
tion were repaired by extensive reading and observation. His 
schools were a large miscellaneous library, kept for convenient 
use, not for ornament, and the great, ever changing kaleidoscope 
of the world. In speech he was easy and fluent, and always 
ready. I never knew a readier man. He had all his knowledge 
and all his faculties subject to call. In a great variety of dis- 
course he always said something that held the attention of his 

Judge Flandrau was near to the people, and knew what in 
their lives concerned them most, and their way of thinking about 
things. This gave him power to reason with them and persuade 
them, and made him a most forceful and effective man in his ad- 
dresses to the jury, a most dangerous adversary. Not the schol- 
arly and classic Davis, nor any others, had advantage of him in 
this field. 

In his social life he was genial, cordial and kind to all. The 


lowly friend got the same cheery greeting on the street as the 
man of high degree . In his hospitable home, ever presided over 
by a graceful, accomplished and refined helpmeet, there was 
good cheer for the body, and charming entertainment for the 
mind. He was an easy and ready conversationalist, and as a 
raconteur he had few equals. A versatile life had enriched his 
mind with an ample supply of anecdote and episode. He was the 
life of many a small gathering, and he and his were always lead- 
ers in the enlarged social life. No social affair, whether of a 
formal character, or for free social enjoyment, was complete with- 
out them. He left his business in his office, and the rest of the 
day was given to his family, to his library, and to society. His 
buoyancy of spirits was perennial. Grief never presented itself 
to his fellow men in the shape of Judge Flandrau. 

I should say he was the best known man in the State after 
the death of Governor Ramsey. He had made political addresses 
in all parts of the State. He was a candidate for Governor on 
the Democratic ticket, the leader of a forlorn hope, but he entered 
upon the campaign with the same spirit and intrepidity as though 
there was a probability of his election, and expounded to the peo- 
ple, without abuse of his opponents, principles and policies, of the 
truth of which he had a profound conviction. He yielded to pres- 
sure, though very busy in his profession, and spoke in other cam- 
paigns, almost to the close of his life. In passing I wish to say, 
that, though he was a strong partisan, he was a patriot first . In 
a recent presidential campaign, he openly joined a minority fac- 
tion of his party, and so aided in its defeat, because it had pro- 
mulgated policies which he deemed prejudicial to the public wel- 
fare, — the same policies for which his party had deserted Presi- 
dent Cleveland. 

His fame was further spread by his professional reputation 
and labors in the courts, and by his addresses on many occasions 
and on varied subjects, and especially by the glory of New Ulm. 
The older citizens remembered it, and handed down to the new 
comers the fame of his glorious deeds in its defense. Minnesota 
owned Flandrau. They called upon him for addresses upon all 
sorts of occasions, whether to act as toastmaster or make a speech 
at a banquet, to celebrate an important historical event, to grace 
a reception, to make a memorial address, to preside at a conveti- 


tion, or to open a fair, anything and everything ; and it seemed to 
be expected that he would comply, as indeed he did, whenever he 
could. The people respected, honored, and were proud of him. 
His responsive, brilliant, dashing qualities charmed them. He 
was a natural leader of men, and was recognized and called upon 
as such. I say it with the utmost assurance, that, if his political 
party had been in the ascendancy, there is no public position with- 
in the gift of the people of the State, to which he might not have 
successfully aspired. 

Judge Flandrau was adapted by nature to a frontier life. 
It was grateful to him, gave scope to his adventurous spirit, en- 
larged his understanding, and broadened his sympathies. Min- 
nesota will never have another Flandrau ; for if a man of like 
gifts should arise, there would be no environment in which to 
set him. 

In this epitome of his life and character I have had no occa- 
sion to draw upon any supposed license of panegyric. My only 
task has been to make the picture true to the life. The name 
and fame of Charles E. Flandrau are interwoven with the up- 
building of Minnesota, and will be perpetuated to future genera- 
tions so long as history shall endure and heroic deeds shall receive 
the veneration of mankind. 

Minnksota EIlMTOltlCAL BoCIBTIj 
Vol. X. PLATi XX. 



The writer has been honored by an invitation from the Min- 
nesota Historical Society, through a letter from its secretary, as 
stated therein, "because we associate you with Judge Flandrau 
as his adjutant at New Ulm," to write an article "on the services 
of Hon. Charles E. Flandrau in the Defense of New Ulm. . . . 
Our Publication Committee desire you to write as fully as may be 
agreeable to you, all to be used for our printing" : hence the fol- 
lowing article. 

This narrative will necessarily be somewhat confined to those 
matters of which the writer had knowledge, either by observation 
or otherwise; though much will be related which came to him 
from the report of others, at the time. So many years have 
passed, that memory may fail him as to specific details, particu- 
larly names of persons ; and should omission or mistake occur, 
which is more than possible, no one will be more disappointed 
or grieved by it than the writer himself. 

Late in the fall of 1857, the writer became a resident of the 
town of St. Peter, in Nicollet county, Minnesota, and in the fol- 
lowing winter or spring made the acquaintance of Hon. Charles 
E. Flandrau. He was then, and for some years before, a resi- 
dent of Traverse des Sioux, situated in the same county, but 
about a mile farther down upon the Minnesota river. That ac- 
quaintance soon became a warm friendship, never interrupted, 
even through years of separation. 

On the date of the admission of Minnesota into the Union 
(May 11, 1858), Judge Flandrau had been for some time the 
Federal Judge of that District of the Territory, and had already 
been elected one of the three judges of the Supreme Com I ot 
the new State. 



At the time of the Indian Outbreak, August, 1862, he was 
still residing at Traverse des Sioux, and had been, before his first 
judgeship, the agent of the Sioux Indians who took the principal 
part in that movement. He was generally known as "Major" 
(then the title by custom of an Indian agent) or "Judge" Flan- 
drau ; and was often referred to, but always with respect or affec- 
tion, as "Charlie" Flandrau. 


Late on Monday, August 18, 1862, report was rife in St. Peter 
that, early in the morning of that day, the Indians had "broken 
out" and killed several whites, at the Lower or Redwood Sioux 
Agency, about sixty miles northwest of St. Peter, and beyond the 
Minnesota river. Early the next morning Judge Flandrau came 
to St. Peter from Traverse and informed the citizens that about 
four o'clock that morning he had received a message from New 
Ulm, brought to him by Henry Behnke, one of the leading 
citizens of that town, to the effect that on the day previous (Mon- 
day), and at a place only a short distance west of New Ulm, some 
white men had been attacked by Indians, several of the whites 
being killed; that refugees, flying from Indians, were coming 
into New Ulm from every westerly direction ; and that a genera! 
Indian attack upon the white settlers along the whole western 
frontier was believed, there, to have taken place. Judge Flandrau 
stated that he had forwarded the message into Le Sueur county 
and down the Minnesota valley, and that he now desired to raise, 
at once, as large an armed force as possible for the protection of 
New Ulm and the frontier west of it. 

Note here that this message was for Charles E. Flandrau, and 
from a community thirty miles distant, in which he was not so fre- 
quent a visitor as many other leading men of the Minnesota val- 
ley. The shock of the Indian attack had almost paralyzed the 
people, and they turned at once to him for help. 

His response was instant, and, sending his wife and infant 
daughter (one year old) to a place of safety, he took steps im- 
mediately to arouse the whole community t lion about, and down 
the river, to the danger, and to raise troops in Traverse, St . Peter, 
and Le Sueur county. Men of all classes rushed to his Standard, 


and he was made captain of over one hundred men, from Nicol- 
let and Le Sueur counties . 


In "Minnesota in the Civil and Indian Wars," Volume I, page 
731, Judge Flandrau, writing in 1890 as one of the commissioners 
appointed by the State, said of this organization: 

Volunteers were called for, and in a very short time about one hun- 
dred and sixteen men were enlisted for any duty that might present itself. 
An organization was formed by the selection of myself as captain, William 
B . Dodd as first lieutenant, and Wolf H. Meyer as second lieutenant. I 
do not think we had time or inclination to complete the organization by 
sergeants and corporals. Immense labor was performed in the next few 
hours in the way of outfit. 

His first marching order was, that eighteen men, who could 
immediately raise arms and horses, should hasten to New Ulm, 
as an advance guard, to report his coming with the main body, as 
well as to bring word of the situation there back to him, and to 
give all aid in their power. He well knew that a few armed men 
might count for much in such a crisis, both as aid and in giving 
encouragement. Henry A. Swift, who was afterward Governor, 
and William G. Hayden, both of St. Peter, were the first to obey 
this order, soon followed by sixteen men, commanded by one of 
their number, L. M. Boardman, sheriff of Nicollet county; the 
others being J. B. Trogdon, Horace Austin (afterwards Judge 
and Governor), P. M. Bean, James Horner, Jacob Stelzer, Philip 
Stelzer, William Wilkinson, Lewis Patch, Henry Snyder. Joseph 
K. Moore (postmaster at St. Peter), a Mr. Tomlinson, S. A. 
Buell, and three men whose names the writer cannot now recall 
with certainty, but thinks they were I. Birdsal, John Dorrington, 
and L. Martindale. All were, as he recollects, from Nicollet 
county, or from and about St. Peter. 

In his first report from New Ulm to Governor Ramsey, dated 
August 20, 1862 (see the same work, Vol. 11, page 165), Colonel 
Flandrau wrote: "We immediately on hearing of it [the Indian 
outbreak] raised 90 men and started for this point, where we 
arrived last night, between 9 and 10 o'clock." This number 
evidently was not intended to include this "advance guard of 


[eighteen] horsemen, sent out by us," who were also mentioned 
by him in this report. 

Boardman's command rode as swiftly as a prospective trip of 
thirty miles made prudent, but, when within about ten miles of 
New Ulm, stopped at an unoccupied farm house to escape a most 
terrific rain storm, and to rest their jaded horses. Cessation of 
the rain, and a short rest for their horses, sent them hurriedly 
onward . 

Swift had already reached New Ulm, and, as soon as he could 
inform himself, reported in an open note to Captain Flandrau, by 
Evan Bowen, of Nicollet county, a volunteer messenger, the situ- 
ation and the necessity of haste ; in effect, that an attack was then 
being made upon the town by over a hundred Indians . 


Boaidman met the messenger, read the message, hurried both 
on to Captain Flandrau, made all possible speed with his own 
party towards New Ulm, and in a short time, from some high 
ground passed over for the purpose, could see the town across 
the Minnesota river, still however a few miles distant. Over and 
back of its upper part (by the river) was a dense black cloud, 
against which, as a background, could be plainly seen the flash 
of guns, fired in either attack or defense. ?.nd burning stacks or 
buildings. The smoke and sparks were blown upon the town 
by the prevailing wind, its direction having probably dictated the 
point of attack, which seemed wholly confined to such upper part. 

There were then two rope ferries across the Minnesota river, 
by which New Ulm could be reached, one abreast the town, the 
other at Redstone, about two miles below. Upon consultation 
with his partv. Boardman determined to use the latter, with the 
hope, warranted by the appearance of the attack then going on, 
that the lower end of the town was not surrounded by the 
Indians. He proceeded to the Redstone ferry, but found that 
the ferry boat was on the other or New Ulm side, with no means 
of reaching it save by swimming. One of the party, whose name 
the writer cannot now recall, volunteered for the purpose and 
brought the boat over, the river being about fifty yards wide. 

On the Nicollet county side the ground was high and com- 


manding, but on the New Ulm side it was very low ; and the nar- 
row road from the ferry passed for about one-fourth of a mile 
over this low ground through a kind of coarse wild grass so dense 
and high as to almost conceal a passing horse and his rider. The 
swimmer was covered by the guns of the party, but a small 
number of Indians, ambushed in that grass, could, as all the party 
well knew, prevent the crossing; the most probable method being 
to allow the empty boat to be taken over, and then to fife upon 
the party while crossing and nearing the New Ulm shore. Be- 
yond the grass, the road continued upon open ground, but so 
much lower than the plateau on which the town stood, as to hide 
the approaching party from the view of those in or about the 
town, until within a comparatively short distance of it. 

The Boardman party crossed the ferry, and, aided by the 
conditions just described, dashed into the town at its lower end, 
without attack, but not without discovery, by the Indians; some 
of whom, in a very short time, passed down back of the town and 
held command of that lower ferry road. This was between 4 and 
5 o'clock in the afternoon. 

The occupants of the town were principally engaged in de- 
fending it against the attack at the upper end, where they had 
already built a barricade across Minnesota street, the principal one 
of the town, and running about parallel with the general course 
of the river. Some parties, however, under the superintendence 
of Samuel Coffin, of Swan Lake, Nicollet county, were building 
another barricade across the same street lower down, so as to in- 
clude the most densely built portion between the two. 

Upon consultation by Henry A. Swift and some of the lead- 
ing citizens of the place, as D. G. Shillock, John C. Rudolph, 
Charles Wagner, Peter Sherer, Captain Nix, John Hauenstein, 
and others equally prominent, but whose names the writer cannot 
now recall, with the Boardman party, it was deemed advisable to 
send another messenger to Captain Flandrau. L. M. Board- 
man had the best horse and then in best condition, and volunteered 
for this dangerous service. The only route left was by the upper 
ferry, abreast the town, but about half a mile distant over low 
ground. He started at once, and some Indians could be Been 
running from the lower end of the town, across this low ground, 
toward the ferry which he was trying to roach, and filing occa- 


sionally at him. Luckily, however, as they had to keep out of 
gunshot of the town, they could not reach him, and he crossed 
the ferry in safety. 

A wounded refugee had been left in a house in the extreme 
lower end of the town. At the request of D. G. Shillock, of 
New Ulm, one of the Boardman party, mounted, raised a squad 
of volunteer footmen, and accompanied Shillock to bring the 
wounded man within the barricade. This man, though badly 
wounded about the body, was able to walk slowly, with the help 
of Shillock and another. The Indians fired on this party several 
times, but at too long distance for execution, being kept down 
behind a ridge of ground by the counter fire of the whites . The 
wounded man was brought, in safely. This was a short time 
before sunset. 

Just before this party reached the lower barricade, a horse- 
man was seen coming at full speed over the prairie ridge just 
back of the town, the Indians firing at him from behind it. His 
horse was hit and killed, but he escaped. As the writer recol- 
lects, he was Ralph Thomas, and was one of a party of seven 
refugees trying to enter the town. The Indians shot and killed 
all the others, save one whose hip was broken. He could not 
be seen from the town, and with his broken hip lay upon the 
prairie all night. He was brought in next morning, conscious, 
and said that he had dragged himself, during the night, up to a 
cow and with her milk had kept up his strength. He lived but 
a little while longer. The writer cannot recall the name of any 
other of the party. Ralph Thomas reported that there were 
over a hundred Indians in the body which fired upon his party. 

About sunset (Tuesday), the Indians, repulsed at every 
point, so far as the town was concerned, discontinued the attack 
and retired. 

Of this advance guard, Judge Flandrau, in the work before 
cited, Vol. I, page 732, wrote as follows : "Our advance guard 
reached New Ulm about 4 or 5 o'clock p. m. — just in time to 
aid the inhabitants in repelling an attack of about one hundred 
Indians upon the town. They succeeded in driving the encir.y 
off, several citizens being killed, and about five or six houses in 
the upper part of the town being tired and destroyed.' 1 

I. V. D. Heard, on Gen. Sibley's staff, wrole in [8631 IH 

pw "" 1 ' 


his work entitled, "History of the Sioux War and Massacres of 
1862 and 1863," page 80, of this advance guard: "It is con- 
ceded that these men saved the town." 

Governor Swift's message reached Captain Flandrau prompt- 
ly, and settled in his mind that New Ulm, not Fort Ridgely, should 
be his destination. About ten o'clock that night, he. with the 
rest of his command in wagons, reached New Ulm. He im- 
mediately posted sufficient guards, and the town felt secure . 


On Wednesday morning, August 20th, Captain Flandrau 
was, by general consent, chosen commander of the forces in New 
Ulm and of the town, with the rank of Colonel, and was given 
power to make such organization, and appoint such officers to 
carry it into effect, as he might deem best. He appointed a sec- 
ond in command, a provost marshal, chief of staff, quartermaster 
and commissary, and an aid, and a most competent medical staff. 
A provost guard was organized; and assistant quartermasters 
and commissaries were designated and put to work at once. 

Order was established; houses, with the least possible in- 
convenience to their owners, were appropriated and numbered, 
and bedding, etc., was provided and put into them; commissary 
and ordnance stores were secured or arranged for; and, before 
night, provision was made for the troops present and to come, 
as well as for the constantly arriving refugees from the frontier. 

In the work before cited, Vol. 1, page 732, Judge Flandrau 
wrote of this organization : 

It soon became apparent that to maintain any discipline or order 
some one man must be in command of all the force?. The officers of 
the various organizations assembled and chose a commander; the selec- 
tion fell to me. A provost guard was at once established and order inau- 
gurated. The defenses were strengthened and we awaited results. Captain 
William B. Dodd, my first lieutenant, was made second in command, Mid 
S. A. Buell, provost marshal, chief 01 Staff, and general manager. He 
bad been a naval officer, and was a good organizer. Captain S. A. 
George, a young man, who had been for a short time in some eastern 
regiment, who joined us at St. Peter, was made an aid. and proved very 
efficient in reducing matters to a manageable condition. 


The officers referred to in this quotation, as the writer now 
recollects, were Captain Charles Roos, then sheriff of Brown 
county, Captain Lewis Buggert, and Captain John Belm, all con- 
nected with the organized militia of Brown county; A. M'. Bean, 
captain of a small company from Swan Lake, who were the first 
men from Nicollet county to reach New Ulm on Tuesday, August 
19th ; and perhaps Captain William Bierbauer, of Mankato; and 
also their lieutenants and those of Captain Flandrau's -company. 
Their choice of Flandrau as commander was confirmed by 
other leading citizens of New Ulm, and in fact by all partici- 
pating. 1 

Afterwards, when he received his own commission from 
Governor Ramsey, Colonel Flandrau issued commissions, dated 
September 30, 1862, to Buell and George, the former with the 
rank of captain, and the latter of lieutenant, such rank in each 
case to date from August 19th, the day of their several appoint- 
ments. These commissions were recognized by the State au- 
thorities. ' As Captain Dodd was killed in battle on August 23rd, 
no commission, the writer thinks, was ever issued in his case. 

The position of ''general manager'' was deemed by Colonel 
Flandrau to include the duties of commissary and quartermaster . 
Accordingly, the chief of staff made certain appointments to 
assist him in his duties as provost marshal, commissary, and 
quartermaster. These assistants were Henry A. Swift and 
William G. Hayden, of St. Peter; John C. Rudolph and D. G. 
Shillock, of New Ulm; and several others of its influential citi- 
zens, whose names the writer is unable to recall with certainty, 
but thinks that among them were George Doehne, Jacob Pfen- 
ninger, and H. J. Vajen. Suffice it to say that all who were 
so called upon to assist most willingly complied with the request . 
and by their ability and energy made possible and effectual the 
organization and its results just mentioned. These preparations 
met the demand of the whole stay at New Ulm, and no one suf- 
fered for what they were to supply, so far as known at the time. 

The preparation for defense, under the immediate supervision 
of Captain Dodd, was constantly going on, and this was the more 
energetically attended to because it was believed that the Win- 
nebago Indians, about four hundred vigorous, well armed men. 
would join the Sioux in the outbreak 



Colonel Flandrau saw and thoroughly appreciated the fact, 
that New Ulm was the proper place to hold as an advance-post. 
It was the nearest to the frontier, except Fort Ridgely, which 
was unfortified, scantily garrisoned, on the wrong side of the 
Minnesota river for the fleeing refugees, and unable to supply 
them, even if they reached it, with food and shelter. Mankato, 
thirty miles further off, was too distant, as was also St. Peter, 
besides that the latter was on the other side of the river; and 
these two towns were, next to New Ulm, the nearest to the fron- 
tier, where it was possible to furnish food and quarters to the 
refugees. Furthermore, to hold New Ulm was to defend the 
towns and country east of it, and to give the state and federal 
authorities time to mobilize on the frontier sufficient force for 
its protection . 

On Monday morning the outbreak commenced ; by that 
afternoon the Indians had nearly reached New Ulm ; on Tuesday 
morning, Flandrau. thirty miles away, first heard of it; by ten 
o'clock that night he had organized a large force, sent forward 
part of it in time to help save the town from an attack then be- 
ing made upon it by the Indians, and had placed his whole force 
in it ; and now, by Wednesday night, he had organized and estab- 
lished an advance-post of defense to the towns and country in its 
rear, and a most accessible haven of refuge to the frontier settlers, 
including many sick and wounded, who were fleeing from Indian 

Yet he had no commission of authority, and not one man in 
his command had ever signed enlistment or sworn obedience; still, 
discipline was complete, as the result of his personal character and 
influence, acting upon a brave people, eager to aid the suffering, 
and recognizing his ability to lead and direct them . 


On Thursday, August 2ISt, Colonel Flandrau sent a small 
detachment about eight or ten miles westward to SCOUt for Indians, 
and to bury any dead whites, bring in any wounded, and aid anv 


in need, who might be found. They buried some dead, and re- 
turned that night, bringing no news of Indians. 

During that evening a reliable report came to Colonel Flan- 
drau, that some thirteen persons were concealed for safety in a 
slough about fifteen miles west of New Ulm. 

On Friday, August 22nd, early in the clay, be sent out another 
expedition of about a hundred and fifty men, one-third mounted, 
in charge of the writer, and the remainder in wagons, all under 
command of Captain George M. Tousley, to bring in these con- 
cealed refugees, and to bury any dead whites to be found. This 
force buried many dead, and rescued the thirteen refugees, one 
of whom was badly wounded and died a day or two afterward. 

This expedition at times during the afternoon heard heavy 
firing in the direction of Fort Ridgely, yet saw no Indians. 
However, late in the afternoon, while on the return march, Indian 
signals, as claimed by experienced frontiersmen present, were 
observed towards New Ulm on or about the route of march dur- 
ing the forenoon from it; which, in their judgment, indicated the 
possibility of an ambush by the Indians, if return should be at- 
tempted by the same road. Captain Tousley very wisely held a 
consultation with men of judgment in his command, particularly 
some whose experience had given them a knowledge of the 
Indians. Among these men was Dr. Asa W. Daniels, of St. 
Peter, one of the medical staff, who had been some years earlier 
the Government surgeon at the Agency of these very Indians. 
No one consulted gave opinion more regarded and acted upon. 

As a result of the consultation, Captain Tousley very prop- 
erly determined to return to New Ulm with all possible haste, 
but by another and more northerly road, to reach which he would 
have to march several miles across the open prairie, thus extend- 
ing the time originally allotted to such return by several hours. 
A good guide was in the party, and the march from one road 
to the other was made after dark. The mounted men were kept 
well out in front and rear, and on each flank, in order to give oppor- 
tunity in case of attack to make a corral with the wagons (the 
team horses being drawn inside), within which the mounted men 
(and even their horses, if found advisable) could be brought, thus 
forming a barrier from behind which the footmen and dismounted 
horsemen could be most efficient in defense. All the time Indian 
night-signals, as claimed by men of experience in such matters. 


were seen along or near the route of march in the morning from 
New Ulm. This was a most trying responsibility and service for 
Captain Tousley, made more so because he was far from well. 
He knew that Colonel .Flandrau expected his return without fail 
that night, for the absence of such a large force greatly weakened 
the defense of the town ; and he, Captain Tousley, was determined 
to obey the order. Yet a march at night across a trackless 
prairie, necessarily resulting in some confusion, and the -possi- 
bility that these night-signals were to a body of Indians upon the 
very road he was seeking, presented problems difficult for even 
trained troops to solve, let alone an improvised body such as his 
command . 

As stated, Captain Tousley was not at all well; yet he re- 
mained on horseback and in command longer, possibly, than a 
due regard to himself required ; but in the latter part of the 
evening he was compelled by physical disability to dismount, get 
into a wagon, and relinquish the command to a junior. 

The expedition arrived safely at New Ulm about midnight, 
much to the joy of Colonel Flandrau, who felt all the time the 
very great risk he was taking in so greatly depleting the defensive 
force of the town to save those thirteen persons ; but it would not 
have been prudent to send out a smaller expedition. That Fri- 
day was, as Colonel Flandrau afterward said, the most trying day 
he had ever, to that time, experienced; but he could not harbor 
for a moment the thought of abandoning those thirteen unfor- 
tunate refugees to their fate, although military necessity might 
have justified such a course, in the mind of some commanders. 

At this time, late Friday night, the defenders, including the 
returned Tousley expedition, numbered about 325 ; the majority 
were poorly armed, a few mounted, the remainder footmen. To 
be protected by these, there were in the town, as estimated, over 
1,500 women, children, and defenseless men. 


On Saturday, August 23rd, early in a cler\r, beautiful morn- 
ing, there could be seen, evidently on the other side of the Minne- 
sota river, upon the upland, a scries of fires, burning stacks or 

buildings, commencing towards Fort Ridgely and neiring Xew 
Ulm. Soon an aggregation of them appeared about north, which 


proved to be the burning- of a small hamlet, called Lafayette, a few 
miles from New Ulm. 

Colonel Flandrau supposed Fort Ridgely had fallen, and that 
the Indians were approaching on the other side of the river, and 
probably also on this side, to join forces at New Ulm. He 
deemed it prudent to send a detachment, large enough to recon- 
noiter in force on the other side of the river, and, if possible, to 
check the advancing Indians in case of contact with them". Lieu- 
tenant William Huey volunteered to perform this duty, and was 
sent with about seventy-five men as well armed as any in the 
command, for the purpose, but with additional instructions to 
reconnoiter well at and about the ferry before crossing, and to 
guard securely the approach to it in his rear after so doing. It 
was expected that he would return in a few hours, at most, if suc- 
cessful ; but at once, should he meet a superior force. This 
detachment crossed the river at the upper ferry in front of the 
town, but about half a mile distant from it; was met almost im- 
mediately by a superior force of Indians, cut oft from cross- 
ing back upon the ferry, and compelled to retreat, away 
from the river, into Nicollet county, with a loss of twenty-one 
missing and two killed or wounded. Lieutenant Huey, by this 
retreat, saved about fifty of the best men of his command; whilst 
otherwise he would probably have been surrounded at the ferry, 
and every man massacred. 

This misfortune left only about 250 armed men to defend 
the town; and soon the magnitude of it was severely felt, for a 
large party of Indians began to appear in the rear of the town, all 
in plain view. With a good field glass, which was placed on the 
top of a high building in the center of town, Colonel Flandrau 
could watch every movement of the enemy; as could anyone, from 
any commanding point, with the naked eye. 

Immediately in the rear of the town was a prairie, slightly 
rising for about one-third of a mile in a direction away from the 
river, and then descending for about two-thirds of a mile farther 
to a slough, which lay along the foot of a high wooded blufT, and 
extended, about parallel with the river's course, from below the 
lower nearly to the upper end of the town; but out beyond the 
upper end of the slough the bluff was not wooded . Crossing 
this slough, nearly in the center between the upper and lower end? 


of the town, was a causeway road. The Indians came in crowds 
over this causeway road, a part turning to their right and a part 
to their left, the latter soon being joined by another crowd that 
came down over the prairie bluff and above the end of the slough . 
As yet, they made no movement toward the town, evidently wait- 
ing for the rest of their party, which continued to come by the 
same routes. 

Colonel Flandrau directed some mounted skirmishers to be 
thrown out on the prairie toward the slough, and Captain Dodd 
placed them well down the incline and so close to the Indians that 
the latter began firing upon them, and there was a lively ex- 
change of shots between the skirmishers and the Indians. The 
horse of one skirmishes was severely wounded by this Indian fire, 
and, taking the bit between his teeth, ran at full speed down the 
hill towards the Indians, carrying his rider with him. Luckily, 
the horse's strength gave out and he made, a staggering fall, les- 
sening his speed thereby, when still about a hundred yards from 
the Indians, who had ceased firing at them, evidently feeling sure 
the horse would bring his rider into their lines. The rider Was 
unhurt by the fall, sprang to his feet, ran up the hill, and escaped 
with his arms and pmmunition, though while running a large 
number of shots were fired at him by the Indians. He obtained 
another saddled horse in a short time, and went to the front again, 
seemingly more worried about the loss of his horse, with the 
saddle and bridle, than by his own danger. The writer knew 
at the time, but cannot now remember, the name of this skir- 

For some reason not understood by Colonel Flandrau, or any- 
one else, so far as expressed, the Indians delayed for more than 
an hour making any general movement, after all seen coming 
down the bluff had joined the main body on the town side of the 
slough . They may have been feeling the strength of the defense 
by this skirmishing fire, or waiting for some movement, or signal 
of it, on the river side of the town, where Lieutenant Hucy and 
his force had been cut off. The latter seemed to be the opinion 
of Colonel Flandrau at the time. But whatever it was, it enabled 
him to have Captain Dodd form the main line of defenders be- 
hind these mounted skirmishers in such a position that, on ac- 
count of the nature of the ground, it could not be seen In the In- 


dians until they had come away from the slough and a long dis- 
tance up the incline, and of course much nearer the town. 


During the time of this approach and delay of the Indians, 
they were counted by a number of persons, either through the 
field glass on the high building mentioned, or by the unaided eye 
from commanding points, being thereby estimated at from 650 to 
800. Colonel Flandrau himself, however, made the smaller esti- 
mate of about 350. In making these estimates, no account was 
taken of the Indians across the river in the timber, who had at- 
tacked Huey; they were two miles or more from the slough, and 
on the other side of the town. They could not possibly have 
joined the body at the slough, since their attack upon Huey, with- 
out being seen, and they were not seen. 

In Judge Flandrau's account of the battle of New Ulm (same 
work, Vol. 1, page 732), he wrote: "As I have learned since, 
from educated half-breeds who were among the attacking party, 
the enemy comprised about six hundred and fifty fighting men, 
all well armed and many mounted." 

Louis Robert, th«m of St. Paul, was at Fort Ridgely during 
the attack upon it by the Indians on Wednesday, August 20th, 
and took part in the defense. He was an old Indian trader, 
familiar with the Sioux, understood their language, and had often 
seen them in large bodies at treaties, payments of annuities, etc. 
On Friday, he starred from Fort Ridgely to go to New Ulm, 
about sixteen miles distant, "but had not gone over two or three 
miles before he found himself surrounded by a large number of 
Indians, who were marching to the attack of the fort. He hastily 
concealed himself in the grass, in a slough, where he remained till 
night, when he again essayed to go on, but had scarcely left his 
place of concealment before he was discovered, and again beat a 
hasty retreat to the slough, where he remained, standing in the 
water, holding his gun above his head, the remainder of the night. 
While in this position, but a few rods from the road, he thinks not 
less than one thousand warriors passed him in the early dawn of 
Saturday, on the way to New Ulm." (Bryant and Murch. "In- 
dian Massacre in Minnesota," page 203.) Giarles S. Bryant, 
A. M., one of the authors, was a scholarly man, living in St. 


Peter at the time, and had every opportunity, which he well im- 
proved, to get at the facts in regard to the Indian outbreak of 

It is the writer's belief that the plan of Little Crow, who com- 
manded the Indians, and of his advisers, was to make the attack 
upon the rear of the town, with the hope that the defenders, sup- 
posing that the front next the river with its ferry, was open for 
their retreat, would make less resistance, and thus be the more 
easily driven to the open bottom between the town and river. 
When at the ferry, they would find themselves confronted by the 
party concealed there, and be massacred between the two bodies 
of Indians. But, if this were the plan, it was disclosed by the 
Huey reconnaissance, and, however disastrous that seemed, it 
may have been a blessing; for white men, surrounded by attack- 
ing Indians, fight hard, with no thought of surrender. 


About ten o'clock on Saturday forenoon, the Indians at the 
slough, having formed a strong line with its flanks curved as if 
to envelop the town, advanced slowly up the prairie slope, firing 
from different points of their line and thereby driving in the 
mounted skirmishers. When this advancing line came into view 
of the main line of the defenders, now increased by the dismounted 
skirmishers, the Indians, still holding their formation, rushed, 
with a yell never forgotten by one who heard it, upon the town, 
firing generally when within ordinary gun-shot. This fire was 
entirely too heavy for the defenders, and, after returning it until 
a few of them were hit, their line gave way, and they retreated 
upon the town and into the outskirts of it. 

Here the Indians made an irreparable error; they occupied 
some buildings passed by the retreating defenders, which broke 
the effect of the Indian attack; it was no longer united. Other- 
wise, while they had the defenders on the run, they might possibly 
have driven them through the town, and down onto the open 
bottom. But the writer believes, and then believed, that the 
vigorous and probably effective fire of some of the better armed 
defenders drove these Indians into the buildings, and thus broke 
their line of attack; thereby enabling Colonel FlandniU and others 


to rally the defenders against the remaining Indian line, compel- 
ling those forming it to take cover, and giving time for all the 
defenders to get into buildings themselves. 

At this time, Colonel Flandrau was applied to for authority 
to burn all the buildings outside those occupied by the defenders, 
so far as might be possible . He was loth to destroy the property 
of this stricken people, but as a military necessity ordered it. 
Volunteers, covered by the guns of the defenders in the buildings 
» behind them, went hastily and crouchingly over open ground and 
fired some buildings and stacks between the two lines. This, 
wherever possible and done, made an open space, leaving no cover 
for the Indians from which to make a closer attack. The mis- 
fortune was, that this was not possible everywhere along the de- 
fenders' line. The fight soon became a driving by the Indians, 
and a burning by the whites as driven back out of the buildings 
by superior force, which appeared on every side. The Indians 
burned buildings also, but generally, it seemed, in order to take 
advantage of the wind and fire the town inside the defenders' 

A little after noon, Captain Dodd, second in command, was » 
misled by a ruse of mounted Indians, on the lower-ferry road just 
where it rises to the plateau on which, at some distance, the town 
stands. He believed it was a party of whites coming to relieve 
the town, but in doubt about entering it, and, in order to en- 
courage them to enter, he called upon some footmen who were 
near to follow him, and rapidly rode outside the lines of defense 
about seventy-five yards. There he was fired at by some Indians 
in ambush. He wheeled his horse around, rode back about sixty 
yards, and then fell heavily to the ground. The horse keeping 
on got inside the lines of defense, and fell dead soon after. The 
footmen following him had at once retreated within the lines. 

An officer and three other defenders rushed out to Captain 
Dodd, as he was struggling ineffectually to get onto his feet, and 
brought him inside the defenses. All that could be done for him 
then was to place a long board with a stick or wood under each 
end of it, thus making a spring board, lav hini upon it. with a coal 
folded under his head, and give him a drink of water. This was 
done in the lower story of a house on the very line of defense, 
while the defenders were shooting from the upper story. He 
was perfectly conscious, said he was mortally wounded, and gave 



orders for all to leave him and go up stairs to the defense of the 
building. His only request was that, should the building be aband- 
oned, he be first carried out of it, so that the Indians would 
not get him or his body. As the officer who had helped carry him 
in was (by his order) leaving him, Captain Dodd took his hand 
in his own, pressed it, and said, "I've felt hard against you, but 
I see I was wrong; forgive me." He died some hours after- 
ward, yet not until he had been carried to another house, laid 
upon a comfortable lounge, and a surgeon brought to him. He 
gave his life for his neighbor; what more can any brave man do? 

His fall seemed to encourage the Indians, and, as the wind 
blew upon that part of the town, the vigor of the attack at that 
point greatly increased, and they began to appear in large numbers 
there. This was reported to Colonel Flandrau, and gathering 
all the men to be spared from the other parts of the town, making 
a party of defenders at that point of about sixty, he made a sally 
with this force, on foot, and drove a body of Indians more 
than double his own number, who were then almost within the 
defenses, completely cutside, and scattered them, but with a loss 
of two whites killed and several wounded. George Le Blanc, a 
half-breed, and a leader among the Indians, was also killed and 
left just within the line of defense. 

In this sally Colonel Flandrau showed not only bravery of a 
high order, but presence of mind and quickness of thought, in a 
way that indicated military instinct. 

The defenders' line here formed a right angle. One side 
was a large frame house in a lot fronting on the main street and 
running back to a point where the ground fell off quite abruptly 
over fifteen feet to a lower plateau . The other side was a smaller 
house in a fenced lot, fronting on a cross street, and running back 
, along the top of this bluff to a point within about fifty feet of the 
rear part of the other lot. It had been ascertained that the 
Indians, in large numbers, were crawling up under this bluff to- 
ward this angle, being entirely safe from the fire of the defenders 
in the large house, and comparatively so from that of those in the 
smaller one. In the vacant space between the two lots there lav 
quite a number of saw-logs. Here the Indians began to gather, 
and the only course left for the defenders was to come out of the 
houses and by a sally in the open drive them away. 


For this purpose. Colonel Flandrau gathered his sallying 
force, taking all the defenders out of the large house, who first 
fired it well inside with straw taken from beds and saturated with 
kerosene oil. Because of the prevailing wind, the smoke poured 
out of the windows in the side of this house toward the inside of 
the defenders' line, and his party was hidden by this smoke from 
the view of the Indians in the vacant space between the two lots ; 
but he could see part of the front of the fenced lot on the cross 
street. A defender, evidently from this smaller house, was seen 
to rush through the gate into the street, and almost immediately 
fall, shot by Indians hidden under the bluff, showing that some 
of them had passed from the rear to the front of the lot by crawl- 
ing along close under the bluff. Instantly Colonel Flandrau, as 
he afterwards expressed himself, saw that to make a feint toward 
the front of that lot would give him and his party an advantage 
in the real attack at its rear. He ordered an officer present to 
take three more defenders and rescue that fallen man, who seemed 
still alive. 

These four defenders rushed out of the smoke toward the 
front of the fenced lot, and immediately came in view of the In- 
dians at its rear, who evidently supposed the attack of the defend- 
ers was being made at that point, and turned their attention to 
the aid of their comrades who had gone under the bluff to the 
front of the lot. Colonel Flandrau followed this feint by rushing 
with his whole party out of the smoke to the rear of the lot, taking 
the Indians there, as it were, in their rear and flank. This he 
always believed gave him and his party the advantage and got 
the Indians on the run at once, from which they never recovered. 

The four defenders making the feint brought in the wounded 
man, but one of their number was shot through the shoulder, the 
Indians being only a few yards off under the bluff. The neces- 
sity, however, for their rushing at once to the rear of the lot, to 
aid in meeting the real attack by Colonel Flandrau, probably 
saved the lives of all tour making this feint. 

This practically ended the fight for that day; the fire of the 
Indians being gradually slackened until sundown, when it ceased, 
leaving the defenders with a loss of nine killed, and about fifty 
wounded so severely as to be unable to fight. The remainder 
were worn, and glad to rest and eat. Lunch carried to the points 
of defense had been the method of refreshment .since breakfast. 



When the first break in the defenders' line took place, Captain 
Saunders got a portion of his men into an unfinished brick build- 
ing near, and by holding it checked the advance of the Indians 
at that point. He was, however, very soon wounded, compelled 
to retire, and had to be supported into the hospital. His men 
continued to hold the position, unaware that the defenders' line to 
their right had been driven much farther in, thereby exposing 
them to the imminent danger of being cut off from the town . 

Henry A. Swift, who was fighting on foot in the line, a short 
distance off, saw this situation at once, and by his coolness, cour- 
age, and example, enabled a mounted officer to form and hold a 
line of about forty footmen, which closed this gap, forced the 
Indians, who were rushing into it, to take cover in some buildings, 
and gave time for the officer to ride out and get Captain Saund- 
ers* men from their exposed position into another building farther 
in. That building they successfully held, and did good execution 
from it, until ordered out in the evening, when it became neces- 
sary to shorten the line of defense . 

During the movement just desctibed, Mr. Swift, as he had 
done a short time before on another part of the line for Colonel 
Flandrau (hereafter related), saved the life of the writer, as he 
has ever since believed, by warning rr'm when he was unwittingly 
riding into an ambush of about fifteen Indians. This warning 
enabled him in good time to check and wheel his horse to the left, 
at the same moment placing his own body as low as possible along 
the left side of the horse; so that only one shot of the Indian fire 
took effect, by slightly clipping the horse's right ear. 

The men forming the line just mentioned were then ordered 
into buildings. Swift took about twenty cf them, seized a square 
brick building in the back part of the town, and, port-holing it, 
held the position until the end of the fight on Sunday. This 
building was the advance-post of defense in that part of the town, 
and the fire of its garrison commanded open ground oil each side 
of it, as well as in front. Most excellent work was done by this 
Hrc, and it covered a long portion of that part of the line of de- 




D. G. Shillock noticed a party of about fifteen Indians seiz- 
ing a house, which, if held by them, would be a great menace to 
that part of the defenders* line. He gathered a party of defend- 
ers, less in number, led them into the house and drove the Indian; 
from it. As the writer recollects, Shillock was then or soon 
afterward, unluckily for "himself and the defenders, badly wound- 
ed. Though he recovered and lived for years afterward, he 
carried the ball in his leg, at times a most painful reminder of the 
battle of New Ulm . 

During the whole of Saturday's fight the streets whose course 
was toward the river were to a great extent covered by the fire of 
Indians located on the high prairie ridge just back of the town. 
Several of the wounded among the defenders, and possibly some 
of the killed, were hit while attempting to cross these streets within 
the lines of defense. After they had become a little used to the 
Indian fire, some instances occurred, when it became necessary for 
a party of defenders to cross such a street, in which one defender 
volunteered to start fust and draw the fire of the Indians, so as to 
lessen the danger of crossing to the rest of the party following 
him. Of course, such crossing could only be successfully made 
at the swiftest possible run. 

At one time that day, some men with good guns were needed 
.in the lower part of the town. An officer went up into the cen- 
tral part to find such, and was followed back by two volunteers. 
John Hauenstein and George Spenncr, each of whom possessed a 
Turner rifle, a most excellent and far-reaching weapon. They 
had been firing from behind chimneys on the tops of houses, but 
could be spared for the other work, to reach which they risked 
their lives in crossing the streets just mentioned, and afterward 
in the lower town did good work indeed. There were too few of 
such weapons among the defenders that day. 

The foregoing instances have been given as those most clearly 
retained in the writer's memory ; but where all did so well, it seems 
almost wrong to specialize in any case. 

Colonel Flandrau, during the latter part of the day and in 
the evening, caused a barricade to be constructed around the cen- 
tral part of the town, across exposed open spaces, by which, in 
connection with buildings, the line of defense was greatly short* 
ened, and so of course made much more easy to hold. All the 
defenders were ordered within it. and all the buildings OUStde that 


could probably be used as cover for attack by the Indians were 
burned. This preparation was made for the morrow, as it was 
known that the Indians still surrounded the town, though with- 
drawn out of gun-shot. It was believed by Colonel Flandrau, 
as well as by many others of good judgment, that the Winneba- 
goes would join the Sioux in the attack next day; for all the re- 
ports with regard to those Indians reaching New Ulm during that 
week, and they were many, fully warranted such belief. 

Just before sundown, Colonel Flandrau made a personal in- 
spection of the defenses, and, so far as safe, a reconnaissance out- 
side of them . He had had three narrow escapes that day . 

First, while rallying the broken line in the forenoon, he rode 
into a position within short gunshot of quite a party of Indians in 
cover. Henry A. Swift, who was near and in cover himself, 
had just seen the Indians rush there, and hailing the colonel 
warned him of his danger. He immediately turned back, and, 
although, shot at, seemingly by the whole party, neither himself nor 
the horse were hit. It was supposed that the Indians were wait- 
ing for him to come nearer and onto higher ground, and that his 
sudden turn disturbed their aim, or they overshot him. 

Second, in the afternoon, while leading the sally spoken of, 
the breech of his gun, just then in front of his body, was struck 
by a large ball, which glanced off, but the force with which the 
gun-breech was driven against his body almost disabled him. 
This shot was fired at close range, and probably at him, for he 
was well known to many of the Indians . 

Third, while upon the reconnaissance near sunset, he was 
very tired, and in order to rest seated himself upon the end of a 
saw-log, while looking out over the prairie. One of his officers 
present, who knew the danger of the locality, warned him of it. 
The colonel sprang to his feet and away, just before several balls 
struck the log where he had been seated. 


In the evening some citizens got their teams, put their fami- 
lies and some supplies in the wagons, and were about leaving the 
town by the lower ftrry road. Colonel Flandrau heard of it in 
time, and by his personal influence, joined with that of others 
whom he called to his aid, he stopped their going, although he 


was prepared and intended to use force, if necessary. They put 
out their teams and returned to the houses. This movement 
would have been simply suicide for them, and the colonel so con- 
vinced the party; but it might also have brought on a fight that 
would have menaced the town, in an effort to save them. One 
man tried this, unknown to anyone else, that night, and was found 
the next day only a little distance outside the lines of defense, on 
that road, scalped, decapitated, and otherwise horribly mutilated. 

The men lay on their arms at the barricade the whole of 
that Saturday night. Colonel Flandrau, his officers, and some 
others whom he called upon as aids, did not sleep at all ; but spent 
the night in making rounds of the barricade, keeping about every 
third man awake, alternating them to give all a chance to rest. 
About midnight a sound was heard back of the town, where the 
Indian camp was supposed to be located, like a large body of men 
marching. The colonel and some of his officers and aids heard 
it, and believed it to be the Winnebagoes coming to help the 
Sioux. But by his order this belief was suppressed, and the 
report was given out that the Indians, in part at least, were march- 
ing off. 

During the latter part of the night the writer had several 
private interviews with Col. Flandrau, by his order. The colonel 
was heavily burdened with the responsibility upon him. Too well 
he knew, from the history of the preceding week even, what would 
be the result of Indian success ; to the men, old women, and child- 
ren, the scalping knife and a horrible death ; but to the younger 
women, a fate, in comparison with which death instead was a 
boon to be prayed for ; and upon him, as commandant, was the 
responsibility for their safety. The means for its discharge were 
those -defenses and about 190 poorly armed men, the remnant of 
that insufficient few with which he had gone into battle the day 
before, brave still, but worn, and possibly much disheartened ; while 
the enemy, at first nearly, if not quite, thrice his own number, and 
better armed, were now in all probability reinforced by half as 
many more, all presumably eager for battle and its anticipated suc- 
zesses, so prized by the Indian fiend. 

In one of these interviews, Colonel Flandrau said: "If those 
Indians get these women and children and defenseless men, anyone 
in responsibility here who escapes, cannot live in this community." 
In his youth he had served his Government at Be*, and was thor- 


oughly imbued with the ethics of that profession, requiring a com- 
mander to go down with his ship in defeat, if duty and honor 

What must have been his sensations ! Just thirty-four years 
old; among the leaders of his profession (the law) in the State; 
one of its three Supreme Judges ; independent pecuniarily ; in a 
home, one of the best in the valley of the Minnesota, planned by 
himself, and built upon a spot, among many offered, of his own 
choosing; blessed with a lovely, accomplished wife, and a charm- 
ing little daughter ; respected and beloved by his neighbors, in fact 
by the whole community ; how bright the future had seemed to 
him! What hopes it had presented! But now, — was he, in a 
few hours probably, to lay these hopes with life itself upon the 
altar of the present duty, and there sacrifice all, in what he 
feared would be an unsuccessful effort to aid those of whom most 
were within a week past to him utter strangers, his only consol- 
ation being that his beloved wife and child were in safety? 

He spent the hours till daylight, in planning (every prepara- 
tion possible was already made) how best he might, with the 
men and material at bis command, meet the blow that he felt sure 
would then come, and which he had little hope of resisting suc- 
cessfully. Yet, in confident voice and manner he expressed an 
assurance of victory on the morrow . 


When that morrow, August 24th, had come, and brought no 
attack at daylight, the favorite time of the Indians for it; and 
when, a little later, the attack was made by a lessened number 
of Indians; all felt assured that no Winnebagoes had come 
to assist the Sioux, but that a very considerable number 
of the latter had marched off in the night ; and none of the de- 
fenders were more relieved than the commandant. 

It was evident that this Sunday morning attack was made 
by less than half the number of Indians engaged the day before, 
and that it was intended simply to hold the defenders within the 
town, while the Indians picked up everything desirable to them 
and plundered and burned the outlying buildings, beyond the 
battle ground of Saturday. The point of attack was shifted to 
the immediate river front, and toward the upper end of the town. 


Within a block or so of the main street, running parallel with 
the river, the ground fell off suddenly quite a number of feet, into 
the low bottom that .extended to the river. Along the top of this 
bluff, about and above the center of the town, stood some frame 
buildings which it had not been necessary to burn the day before. 
From behind these the attack came, and, though comparatively 
light, it was threatening because so close. Colonel Flandrau or- 
dered these buildings to be fired, which was done with compara- 
tive safety because the Indians, in order to avoid exposing them- 
selves to the shots of the defenders, were compelled to fire from 
behind the outside corners of these buildings. 

One Indian, who was incautious in that respect, was shot, and 
fell forward in full view at the end of the building, and his com- 
rades dared not attempt to get him away, a thing usually done 
by them, it is said. This Indian was only wounded, but could not 
rise to his feet. As the building burned and the heat of it reached 
him, he used all his strength to get away, but could only roll him- 
self first away from it and then back toward it. Several of the 
men, who witnessed this wounded Indian thus burning to death, 
forgot all enmity, and would, in sympathy for his evident suffer- 
ings, have rushed out to relieve him by carrying him away from 
the burning building; but they were forbidden because of the 
great danger to them, in so doing, from the fire of the Indians be- 
yond the buildings. 

During this attack, an order Avas recived from Colonel Flan- 
drau to burn an occupied building, a large hotel, in that part of 
the town, as the Indians were pressing very hard upon it, and its 
possession by them would be disastrous to the defense. All per- 
sons were ordered out of it, and preparations were made, with 
straw and oil, to fire it. But the officer in charge of the work 
personally went into the rooms above the street floor to see that 
no person asleep was being left in them, before starting the fire. 
In one he found a child, probably about two years old, asleep, 
which had been forgotten. This child had been cut about the 
head by the Indians with a tomahawk, when they had attacked 
and killed several of its relatives at their home in the country, 
in the previous week. Wrapping the child in a blanket, and carry- 
ing it, he started down the stairs, and was met by an aged female 
relative of the child, shrieking that it had been forgotten. The 
delay thus caused saved the hotel, tor an order just then came 


not to burn it, as the necessity therefor had passed. In this at- 
tack, one defender was killed, and perhaps one or two wounded. 
Very soon the Indians had secured their plunder and started off, 
all disappearing to the west and northwest, back of the town. 

Arrival of reinforcements. 

Some little time later, the head of a column of men came into 
view where the road from the lower ferry rises out of the low land 
to the plateau upon which the town is built. This same thing, the 
day before, then a ruse of the Indians, had cost the life of Captain 
Dodd ; and another ruse was suspected in this case. Colonel 
Flandrau ordered one of his officers to ride out and reconnoiter, 
who did so, and discovered and reported that it was a body of 
over a hundred armed white men . A part were volunteers from 
Nicollet, Sibley, and Le Sueur counties, under Captain E. St. 
Julien Cox, of St. Peter, sent the day before by Colonel Sibley 
to report to Colonel Flandrau; and the rest, Lieutenant Huey's 
remnant . 

Then men who had borne up under the severe strain of the 
past thirty-six hours broke down with joy, at the thought that 
their trials were at last ended ; and Captain Cox and Lieutenant 
Huey, with their men, were welcomed heartily. 

James Geary, then of Le Sueur county, now of St. Paul, 
was a lieutenant of Captain Cox's company, and has since in- 
formed the writer that about half the company, being without 
private arms, had been furnished by Colonel Sibley with Austrian 
or Eelgian muskets, the best in his power to supply, but which 
were practically worthless; that the company had started from 
St. Peter the day before, Saturday, the 23rd, and had camped 
for the night at Nicollet, about fourteen miles from New Ulm; 
had marched early Sunday morning to the Redstone ferry; had 
found the ferry boat luckily on the Nicollet county side, but un- 
fortunately a long distance below the road by which alone wagons 
could approach the ferry ; had necessarily consumed much time 
in getting the boat up the river to the ferry and ready for opera- 
tion ; and that the crossing was made successfully and without 
opposition from any source. 

When the night of Saturday had come, and the battle for 
that day was over, the Indians had command of the upper and 


lower ferries across tbe Minnesota river, the only means by which 
a relieving force from St. Peter, where alone such force was 
gathering, could reach New Ulm within less than two days. 
Captain Cox camped at Nicollet, about fourteen miles off, on that 
night. The Indians, by their scouts, knew, most probably, all 
the movements of any considerable force of the whites, and the 
exact position of that force at that time. They knew, also, that 
by destroying the ferry boats at these ferries any time .that Satur- 
day night, they would make it impossible for Captain Cox to cross 
at either ; and that, for the whole of Sunday, and possibly part of 
Monday, they could, in that case, continue their attack upon New 
Ulm without interruption from him, or from any other possible 
relief party. 

Yet they did not destroy the ferry boats. They only cut 
loose the Redstone or lower ferry boat, which floated down the 
river a long distance below the ferry road; for they well knew, 
as events proved, that, should Capt. Cox use that ferry, this would 
cause enough delay in his crossing to give them sufficient time to 
make the attack on Sunday morning, thereby keeping the defend- 
ers within the town until they (the Indians) could collect their 
piunder and get away, which they did, before the arrival of Cap- 
tain Cox. And this was probably done by less than half their 
number. Had Captain Cox attempted to use the upper ferry, at 
the time he did use the lower one, the Indians would have known 
it. when he was miles away, and could have easily done the same 
thing there. 

The repulse of the Indians by Colonel Flaridrau, on Saturday, 
had been so complete and decisive that they evidently determined 
to make no further efforts then to advance into the settlements, 
and more than half their force marched awav about twelve o'clock 
on Saturday night, leaving the remainder to execute the work just 
stated. The Indians never afterwards appeared in force as far 
east as New Ulm . 


During the time spent at New Ulm. nothing gave Co! 
Flandrau more relief than his medical Staff. His confidence in 
their ability was unlimited; and their excellent care and treatment 


of the sick and wounded, whose sufferings worried him greatly, 
evidenced their high personal and professional character, and 
were his greatest comfort. 

The writer thinks this medical staff was composed of Dr. 
Carl Weschcke, then in practice at New Ulm, and now and for 
many years last past its mayor; Dr. Asa W. Daniels, of St. 
Peter; Dr. Mahon (or McMahon), of Mankato; and Drs. Mayo 
and Otis Aver, of Le Sueur. If there were other members .of it, 
the writer has forgotten them . 


Upon consultation with his forces and with the people of the 
town, during the afternoon and evening of Sunday, it was de- 
termined by Colonel Flandrau that, because of threatened sickness 
and growing scarcity of provisions, the town should be evacuated 
the next day, Monday; the citizens and refugees to march in a 
column, protected by the armed men, to Mankato, situated on 
the same side of the Minnesota river. Notice was given and 
preparation made, the best for the sick and wounded, many of 
both these classes being found among the refugees. Because of 
the scarcity of transportation, Colonel Flandrau, much to his re- 
gret, was compelled to limit the amount a man possessing the 
means of it should take of his own goods, the space being needed 
for those who were without. Some complained of this at first, 
but the order was necessary, imperative, and not varied from. 
Upon second thought such owners of the means of transportation 
admitted the justness, and certainly the mercy, of this order. 

Early on Monday, August 25th, the barricades are broken, 
and soon the saddest caravan ever seen in Minnesota — over 1,500 
people, many sick, about eighty wounded, besides the armed men 
who guard it on flank and rear — is moving towards the southeast. 
Many have left or lost all, except the little carried with them ; 
even their nearest and dearest ones, butchered by the Indians, lie 
buried, without coffin, book, or bell, where they died, with naught 
to mark the spot; some are mourning and fearing a worse fate 
for their friends, captured by the savages; and all such are going 
where? God knows, — anywhere away from Indians! 

Colonel Flandrau guarded that column about sixteen mile?. 



then hurried it, with part of the guard, on to Mankato, about four- 
teen miles farther ; and he, with the remainder of the troops, 
camped through Monday night at Crisp's farm, to guard the rear. 
In the work before cited, Vol. I, page 733, he wrote of this exo- 
dus, as follows : 

On Monday, the 25th. provisions and ammunition becoming" scarce, 
and pestilence being feared from stench and exposure, we decided to evac- 
uate the town and try to reach Mankato. This destination was chosen 
to avoid crossing the Minnesota river, which we deemed impracticable, 
the only obstacle between us and Mankato ' being the Big Cottonwood 
river, and that was fordable.. We made up a train of one-hundred and 
fifty-three wagons, loaded them with women, children and about eighty 
wounded men, and started. A more heart-rending procession was never 
witnessed in America. The disposition of the guard was confided to 
Captain Cox. The march was successful ; no Indians were encountered. 
We reached Crisp's farm toward evening, which was about half-way be- 
tween New Ulm and Mankato. I pushed the main column on, fearing 
danger from various sources, but camped at this point with about one 
hundred and fifty men, intending to return to New Ulm, or hold this 
point as a defensive measure for the exposed settlements. 

While we were in camp at Crisp's farm Monday night, a 
woman, with a child, about two years old, came from outside the 
guard-line, and approaching one of the sentries discovered her- 
self just in time to prevent her being shot by him. A bullet, 
fired by an Indian on the preceding Monday, the first day of the 
outbreak, had passed through the muscles of her back, but with- 
out injury to the spine, and had struck her child's hand, at that 
moment over its mother's shoulder. This had occurred west of 
New Ulm, where the bodies were buried by the Tousley expedi- 
tion on Friday, the 22nd, and many miles distant from Crisp's 
farm. She had subsisted on berries, roots, and grain, during 
the week, carrying her child most of the time. The Indians had 
chased her several times, and even put dogs upon her track, to 
elude which she had laid herself down on her back in the water 
in streams and sloughs, holding her child above her : and she 
expressed her belief that the wound in her back, which she could 
not reach to dress, had been, during that hot weather, greatly 
benefited thereby. Her principal effort on such occas;^: 1 ^ was 
to hush the crying of her child (in which she always succeeded), 
so as not to attract her pursuers. The poor little thing made up 


for its lost privileges in that way, after it was safe in camp that 
Monday night. 

Both mother and child were taken on to St. Peter, and were 
placed in an improvised hospital there, where they were found 
by the husband and father, who had been working for some 
weeks at a point on the Mississippi river. Both mother and 
child recovered. How that husband and father must have loved 
the Sioux Indians afterwards ! 

Neither Indians, nor signs of them, were apparent that night, 
though ample watch was kept for them. 

On the morning of Tuesday, the 26th of August, Colonel 
Flandrau, having placed all the refugees in safety from the In- 
dians, decided to return to New Ulm, for the purpose of still 
( holding at as an advance-post of defense to the settlements east 
and southeast of it, and made a strenuous effort to that end. 
As to this and its result, the writer again quotes Judge Flandrau, 
from the same work, Vol . 1 , page 733 : 

On the morning of the 26th we broke camp, and I endeavored to 
make the command return to New Ulm or remain where they were: 
my object, of course, being to keep a force between the Indians and the 
settlements. The men had not heard a word from their families for more 
than a week, and declined to return or remain. I did not blame them. 
They had demonstrated their willingness to fight when necessary, but held 
the protection of their families as paramount to mere military possibilities. 
I would not do justice to history did I not record that when I callefd 
for volunteers to return. Captain Cox and his whole squad of. forty 
or fifty men stepped to the front, ready to go where commanded. Al- 
though I had not heard of Captain Marsh's disaster, I declined to ailow 
so small a command to attempt the reoccupation of New Ulm. My 
staff stood by me in this effort, and a gentleman from Le Sueur county 
(Mr. Freeman Talbott) made an eloquent and impressive speech to the 
men to induce them to return. 

The most of those offering to return had but recently left 
their homes, and had not been in any of the battles at New Ulm. 

Later on Tuesday, August 26th, in his march from Crisp's 
farm, Colonel Flandrau reached Mankato, and there disbanded 
his original force, allowing the men to go to their homes, or with 
their families. They had done the fighting which had saved 
the refugees and placed them in safety, and deserved such re- 
lease from further duty. Captain Cox, with his command, was 
ordered to report to Colonel Sibley at St, Peter. 



The writer believes it due to Judge Flandrau's memory, in 
estimating his services in defense of New Ulm, that a fair com- 
parison should be made between the battle of August 23rd and 
24th at New Ulm and the other battles with the Indians during 
that season, on that part of the frontier. 

In this two-days' battle at New Ulm, the defenders fought, 
of course, for their own lives, for even surrender to the foe 
surrounding them would bring certain death, preceded by 
terrible torture. The resident defenders had the additional in- 
centive of saving their families or relatives. But the writer be- 
lieves, and then believed, that the large number of women, chil- 
dren, and defenseless old men, to be saved from the merciless 
savage, greatly incited all the defenders to think first, last, and 
always, only of resistance; and it will be difficult, if possible, to 
find in the Indian wars of this country a case where whites, so 
situated, fought more determinedly and persistently. 

From the facts herein shown, it is fairly inferable that the 
attacking force of Indians in that New Ulm fight numbered at 
least 650, and probably even 1,000 or more. It was known 
that these Sioux had thirty or more good army rifles, with ample 
supply of ammunition proper therefor, and some good private 
arms ; and that each of them possessed a heavy double-barreled 
shotgun, number ten or twelve bore, with very strongly rein- 
forced barrel toward the breech, so as to shoot balls, with danger- 
ous accuracy and great force, at least three hundred yards. The 
Government had provided these shotguns for the Indians, some 
years before, to enable them to shoot and kill large game, includ- 
ing buffalo. These guns could be used also, at a somewhat 
shorter range, for shooting smaller balls that would chamber in 
them three at a time, with great force and effect. Some in- 
stances were reliably reported that men were hit, at long range, 
with these guns using a single ball, which passed entirely through 
the body. Even the walls of the frame houses, used by the de- 
fenders during the battle of Saturday and Sunday, were not a 
sufficient protection against these Indian gnns ; ami hence, on 
each side of the openings from which the defenders fired, btd- 
mattresscs and the like were necessary and used to CORV 
plctc the partial defense made by the walls. The Indians were 



seen to load these guns running at full speed. While Indian 
agent, Colonel Flandrau had purchased one of these very guns, 
and he used it in the fight at New Ulm. In all their fights that 
year, the Indians seemed to have an ample supply of ammunition, 
taken probably from the agency stores and other sources. 

The muster rolls of different companies at New Ulm, which 
rolls were made or perfected, as now of record, long afterward, 
show a large number of men there during the week of the trouble. 
Captain E. C. Saunders, and Captain William Dellaughter, both 
of Le Sueur, and Captain William Bierbauer, of Mankato, each 
brought a body of fairly-armed men there, and were personally 
in the battle of Saturday and Sunday, August 23rd and 24th. 
But many of the men in some of the armed organizations at New 
Ulm were constrained to return to their own localities to defend 
their homes. Reports came to them, during the week, of threat- 
ened trouble in other places by the Sioux and Winnebagoes, with 
urgent messages for such return. The writer, as adjutant, took 
part with Colonel Flandrau, at his request, in urging the position 
taken by him, that to defend New Ulm was to defend these homes 
in its rear. But all had to admit that, if the Winnebagoes should 
"break out'' around their own reservation, and not come to aid the 
Sioux at New Ulm, and if other bands of Sioux were to attack 
in other places, in its rear, such homes would be in great danger, 
and would need for their defense all the men belonging there; 
and Colonel Flandrau, admitting the necessity, gave permission 
for yielding to it. Hence it was the highest prudence for every 
man who, having come to New Ulm during that week, left it and 
returned home for such purpose, to act as he did. But this very 
necessity, acted upon, greatly depleted the force defending New 
Ulm, by noon on Friday, August 22nd. 

It has been before stated that the number of defenders actu- 
ally going into the battle of Saturday, August 23rd, was about 
250. The writer desires to make some quotation from official 
reports of the time, as to the correctness of this statement. On 
August 22nd, at 3 p. m., Colonel Flandrau sent by a Special 
messenger a written communication to "Ex-Governor Sibley/ 1 ex- 
pected to reach him on his march from Belle Plaine to St. Peter, 
in which he wrote: "I have about 200 men here, but very poorly 
armed;" and again, "I have large expeditions out all day, which 


weakens me" (Minnesota in the Civil and Indian Wars, Vol. 2, 
pages 197 and 19S) . The Tousley expedition was, at that hour, 
several miles west of New Ulm. 

On August 27th, from St. Peter, Colonel Flandrau made 
his report, to Governor Ramsey, of the battle of Saturday and 
Sunday. In this report he wrote: "I detailed 75 men with him 
[Lieutenant Hueyj, and they crossed at the ferry opposite the 
town about 9 o'clock a. m." As before shown, this .force could 
not return to New Ulm until the next day (Sunday), after the 
Indians had retreated, and they took no part in the battle on the 
New Ulm side of the river. In the same report, Colonel Flan- 
drau further wrote: "At nearly 10 a. m. the body [of Indians 

in rear of the town] began to move toward us. 

We had in all about 250 guns." (Same work, Vol. 2, page 

The loss among the 250 defenders at New Ulm was 10 
killed and 51 wounded, the most of which loss was suffered on 
Saturday, the first day of the battle. As before stated, the non- 
combatants, women, children, and old men, were about 1,500. 

The defenders at Fort Ridgely on Friday, August 22nd, the 
day of the greatest fight there, numbered 180 men, in part well 
armed troops, infantry and skilled artillery ; the remainder, foot- 
men, recruits, and citizens, were fairly armed. The non-com- 
batants to be defended were about 300. (See the narrative ot 
Gen. L. F. Hubbard [written in 1892], in the same work. Vol. 
2, page 182.) The number of the attacking force of Indians is 
not given or estimated in the reports of Lieut. T. J. Sheehan. 
Fifth Minnesota Infantry, who commanded, and Ordnance Ser- 
geant J . Jones, U . S . Army, who had charge of the artillery ; 
both reports were made August 26th, 1862. But the former, 
in his report, wrote : "This post was assaulted by a large force 
of Sioux Indians on the 20th instant;" and again: "On the 22nd 
they returned with a much larger force and attacked US on all 
sides." And the latter, in his report, wrote: "On the 22nd of 
August. 1862, a still more determined attack was made about 
2:30 p.m. by a very large force of Indians." The defenders' 
loss was three killed and thirteen wounded. (See the same 
work, Vol. 2, pages 171-173.) But in the narrative of General 
Hubbard (on page 186), the attacking Force is estimated it [,200 


to 1,500. In a note to this narrative (on page 173), it is stated 
that "the events . . . connected with . . .the de- 
fense of Fort Ridgely are related by Lieutenant T. P. Gere of 
Company B," Fifth Minnesota Infantry, who was present in that 

It would seem that the attacking force at Fort Ridgely, less 
their killed and wounded, were, in all probability, in the attack at 
New Ulm the next morning, as indicated by Louis Robert's* state- 
ment before given. But the Indians seen by Robert marching 
down the valley of the Minnesota river (Fort Ridgely was about 
sixteen miles above and northwest of New Ulm) could not have 
been the same Indians that were doing the burning on the up- 
land road from Fort Ridgely to Lafayette, as seen from New 
Ulm early Saturday morning. The Indians whom Robert saw 
would cross the Minnesota river back of the position from which 
they appeared at the rear "of the town; and the Indians doing 
the burning were in all probability the body that attacked Huey. 

In the fight by Captain Marsh at the Redwood Agency ferry 
on Monday, August 18th, the whites numbered fifty-five, trained 
and well-armed soldiers. The attacking force of Indians was 
about 425. There were no non-combatants. Of the whites twenty- 
four were killed, including the commanding officer, and five 
wounded. (See the same work, Vol. 2, pages 1 67-171 ; report 
of sergeant, afterwards first lieutenant, John F. Bishop, who 
succeeded to the command and brought it off the field . ) 

At' Birch Coulie on Tuesday, September 2nd, the attacking 
force of Indians was about 400; the defenders only about 150. 
During Tuesday night the Indians were reinforced by about 500; 
but the determined resistance of the day before, and the approach 
of relieving parties, prevented any serious attack after such re- 
inforcement. There were no non-combatants. The whites lost 
twenty-three killed and forty-five wounded. (See the report of 
Captain Hiram P. Grant, who commanded in that battle, and the 
statement of James J. Egan, a participant; in Vol. 2, pages 215- 

At Wood Lake, September 23rd, the attacking party of In- 
dians was "nearly 500/' as stated in Colonel Sibley's report of 
September 27th (Vol. 2, page 254.) His command numbered 
at least 1,000 men, infantry, cavalry, and artillery; and the attack 


was made upon the camp early in the morning. There were no 
non-combatants. The loss of the whites was five killed, and 
thirty-one wounded. (See the reports of Surgeons Greeley and 
Wharton, in the same work, Vol . 2, pages 243-4 . ) 

At Redwood Agency ferry, and at Birch Coulie, the whites 
were surprised, and, though they were well armed and organized, 
in each case it is a wonder that a single white man escaped. 
That anyone did escape, and so many in the latter case, redounds 
to the credit, and warrants the highest praise, of those who com- 
manded and participated; and too much has never been written, 
nor can ever be, in commendation of the skill and bravery dis- 
played in the defense of Fort Ridgely. 

The writer suggests that the foregoing facts clearly show 
that Colonel Flandrau's successful defense of New Ulm, consid- 
ering and comparing the numbers engaged, character of arms, 
kind of organization, number of non-combatants to be defended, 
duration of the fighting, and sacrifice at which the victory w r as 
obtained, at least equaled in importance any of the battles named . 


Did Judge Flandratt, by his defense of New Ulm, render any 
other service than that of placing those 1,500 or more refugees in 
safety? It has been already claimed in this article, that by night 
on Wednesday, August 20th, he had made New Ulm an advance- 
post of defense for the towns and country in its rear, Mankato, 
St. Peter, and vicinity. While he held New Ulm, no body of In- 
dians made a raid east and southeast of it; and very few out- 
rages by individual parties, if any, occurred there. 

On Tuesday, August 19th, Governor Ramsey heard at St. 
Paul the news of the outbreak, and "hastened to Mendota, and 
requested the Hon. H. H. Sibley to take command, with the 
rank of colonel, of an expedition to move up the Minnesota Val- 
ley. He at once accepted." .(See Heard's "History of the 
Sioux War and Massacres of 1862 and 1863," page 117. The 
author was on Colonel Sibley's staff, and wrote in 1863.) This 
shows that the scene of Judge Flandrau's labors was the place 
to be defended first, and most vigorously; and that on the same 

day that Judge Flandrau, at Traverse, very early in the morning, 



heard of the outbreak, Governor Ramsey heard of it in St. Paul, 
seventy-five miles farther from the scene of action. 

On the evening of Thursday, August 21st, Colonel Sibley 
was at Belle Plaine, fifty-seven miles from St. Paul, with 225 
men, having used a steamer to Shakopee, over half the way. 
(See "Minnesota in the Civil and Indian Wars," Vol. 2, pages 
193-5 . ) The next day he dated a report to Governor Ramsey, 
"Headquarters Indian Expedition, St. Peter," and had three 
companies with him (page 196). Heard, on page 118 of his 
History, wrote: 

On Sunday this force was increased which swelled Sibley's com- 
mand to some 1,400 men The mounted men [about 300] had no 

experience in war and were only partially armed, and that only with 
pistols and sabers, about whose use they knew nothing. A portion of 
the guns of the infantry were worthless, and for the good guns there 
were no cartridges that would fit. The foe was experienced in war, 
well armed, confident of victory, and wrought up to desperation by the 
necessity of success. 

On Tuesday, August 26th, Colonel Sibley reported to Gov- 
ernor Ramsey from St. Peter that he should move that morning 
("Minnesota in the Civil and Indian Wars," Vol. 2, page 199) . 
He did so, and camped that night six miles from St. Peter on the 
upper road to Fort Ridgely, where Colonel Flandrau and the 
writer saw him. Some refugees from New Ulm, marching 
from there with Colonel Flandrau, had reached St. Peter, by 
way of Mankato, before Colonel Sibley moved at all. 

It must be presumed that Colonel Sibley did move the mo- 
ment he was ready ; that he had done all he could ; and that during 
his stay at St. Peter he was awaiting reinforcements and sup- 
plies of food and ammunition from St. Paul, until Monday even- 
ing, August 25th, or the next morning. On Saturday, August 
23rd, he had sent forward the expedition commanded by Captain 
Cox, but it was composed of volunteers from Sibley, Le Sueur 
and Nicollet counties. The State authorities had been doing all 
in their power to help Colonel Sibley, with the result stated, that 
he was six miles west of St. Peter towards Fort Ridgely, still 
thirty-nine miles distant, on Tuesday night, August 26th, 

Even as late as Monday, August 25th, was Colonel Sibley, 
while thus insufficiently supplied with ammunition, in Condition 



to resist successfully an attack by a large body of Indians? 
Would he not, if assailed, have been compelled to fall back, down 
the Minnesota valley, towards his coming ammunition supply, 
the possession of which was absolutely necessary to render his 
force effective for any purpose whatever, even its own defense? 

Then, did Judge Flandrau's maintenance of that advance-post 
of New Ulm, from Tuesday, August 19th, until Monday, the 
25th, together with his repulse of the Indians on Saturday and 
Sunday, the 23rd and 24th, aid the State authorities in placing 
Colonel Sibley's expedition where it camped on Tuesday night, 
August 26th ? 

Suppose that Judge Flandrau had not done so, but had 
failed, and that New Ulm had fallen in the week preceding or on 
Sunday morning, the 24th, placing those 1,500 refugees, mostly 
women and children, cut off from flight eastward by the Minne- 
sota river, at the mercy of those Indians. Imagine the scene of 
blood and rapine, and then its effect. The whole community 
eastward, from town, hamlet, and farm, would have been rushing 
by every means obtainable, uncontrollably, down the Minnesota 
valley for safety ; and the simple word, "Indians," could have been 
used to conjure fright with even on the streets of St. Paul. 

Sometime — it should be soon — Minnesota, in gratitude and 
for the admiration and instruction of future generations, will cast 
in bronze, or carve in stone, the form and features of Charles E. 
Flandrau; but no art, however high, can make the hard material 
of commemoration fully show the firm will, the bright mind, the 
loving heart, the genial smile, and the winning manner, which 
have made him so respected and beloved through life, and now s© 
mourned in death . 



Charles Eugene Flandrau, who died in the City of St. Paul 
on September 9th, 1903, would have completed in November of 
this year a residence of fifty years in Minnesota. At all times 
during his long citizenship in our state he took an active and 
.leading part in public affairs and his complete biography will be 
a history of our state. His lifelong friends, Judge Greenleaf Clark 
and Major Salmon A. Buell, have reviewed before you his early 
career, and his great services to his adopted state, in laying the 
foundations of our civil government, and in his participation in 
the Indian war which threatened the prosperity of the state and 
caused so great a loss of life and property. A brief review of 
the career of Judge Flandrau, particularly as lawyer and judge, 
may supplement what has already been presented to you. 

The son of a lawyer, who was a graduate of Hamilton Col- 
lege, and a gentleman of culture and many acquirements, and who 
practiced many years with Aaron Burr, Judge Flandrau had ad- 
vantages in early life which were unusual in the early history of 
our country. These advantages were of great benefit, and, al- 
though he lacked a thorough school training when he came to 
Minnesota in 1853, he was not merely trained sufficiently as a 
lawyer to successfully undertake the practice of his profession 
in a western state, but he had acquired much of the literary taste, 
culture, and refinement, which adorned his life. 

In 1853 nc began the practice of his profession in St. Paul 
in partnership with the late Horace R. Bigelow, with whom he 
had left the State ot New York to begin his lite career. He 
shortly afterwards, in the winter of 1853 ami [854, went to what 


is now St. Peter, and resided in that locality till April, 1857, when 
he was appointed by President Buchanan associate justice of the 
Supreme Court of the Territory of Minnesota. In the follow- 
ing year, upon the admission of the State, he was elected one of 
the justices of the Supreme Court, which position he continued to 
occupy until July 5, 1864, when he resigned his office. This 
completed his judicial experience. After a brief residence in 
Carson and Virginia City, Nevada, where he and Judge Atwater, 
his former associate on the bench of the Supreme Court, engaged 
in the practice of law, and a brief residence in St. Louis, he re- 
turned to this state, and, with Judge Atwater, began the practice 
of law in Minneapolis . In 1870, he removed to St. Paul, and 
there resided until his death. During his entire residence in St. 
Paul he was actively engaged in the practice of his profession, 
being successively a member of the firms of Bigelow, Flandrau, 
and Clark; Bigelow, Flandrau, and Squires; and Flandrau, 
Squires, and Cutcheon. 

His practice was extensive and lucrative. He and his firms 
were for many years leaders at the bar in this state. An exami- 
nation of the reported cases in this state will show that a very 
large proportion of the important litigation was entrusted to their 
care and was successfully conducted. 

Judge Flandrau was pre-eminently a good citizen. Thor- 
oughly conversant with the duties of citizenship, he shirked none 
of them. Never a seeker of public office, his services were in 
frequent demand, and he was repeatedly called upon to fill official 
positions. These, whether high or low, he filled well, serving 
his constituents with ability and diligence. 

In 1854 he was deputy clerk of the district court for Nicollet 
county, and later attorney for the same county. In 1856 he was 
appointed agent for the Sioux Indians. In the same year he 
was chosen for a term of two years a member of the Territorial 
Council, the upper house of the Territorial Legislature. In 1S57 
he served as a member of the "Democratic branch" of the Con- 
stitutional Convention, which, in conjunction with the "Republi- 
can branch," framed our present State Constitution. As fclready 
stated, from 1857 to 1864, he was associate justice of our Su- 
preme Court. In 1867 he was elected dt) attorney of Minne- 
apolis, ami in [868 was chosen first president of the Board of 
Trade of that city . 


In politics, Judge Flandrau was a Democrat, and to his party 
he was a conscientious and lifelong adherent. When the pre- 
ponderance of the Republican party in this state was so great that 
the election of its candidates by large majorities was assured, 
Judge Flandrau did not hesitate, upon the demands of his party, 
to stand as their candidate, in 1867, for governor, and in 1869 
for chief justice of the Supreme Court. Nor did Judge Flandrau 
hesitate, when he believed that his party had in any manner de- 
parted from what ne believed to be an honest political principle, 
to openly oppose its candidates, as he did in the presidential elec- 
tion of 1896. 

In 1899, towards the close of a long life, when abundantly 
entitled to rest and freedom from the care of public business. 
Judge Flandrau responded to the demands of his fellow citizens 
and became a member of the Charter Commission which framed 
the present charter of the city of St. Paul. Of this commission 
he was chairman till his death. This position, the duties of which 
were arduous, could add little to his reputation or standing in the 
community, and the acceptance thereof must have been prompted 
by that nice sense of the duties of citizenship which characterized 
Judge Flandrau throughout his life. 

In all matters that related to the well-being, prosperity, and 
improvement of his fellow citizens, Judge Flandrau was ever ac- 
tive. Identified -with all those larger commercial, social, educa- 
tional, and charitable institutions which make for the best interest 
of mankind, yet he seemed to take a greater pleasure or interest 
in individual improvement and particularly in those persons hav- 
ing limited advantages. To such he was ever ready to lend his 
aid and encouragement. 

While his many personal friends and contemporaries will 
long cherish recollections of the many fine trails in the character 
of Judge Flandrau, still his most enduring fame will doubtless 
rest upon his work while justice of our Supreme Court. Ap- 
pointed to this court at the age of twenty-nine, he entered upon 
the discharge of his duties with ardor and much devotion to his 
work. His seven years upon the bench doubtless covered the 
most important period in the development of our jurisprudence, 

being the formative period of a new state. 

Under our system of government, in which each state is, 
with certain limitations, a sovereign state having exclusive con- 


trol of its domestic institutions and policies, the first few years of 
statehood are of controlling- importance. Each new state takes 
its place among its sister states with equal rights, but without ex- 
perience. Its laws are to be framed; its policies and principles 
of government are to be adopted; and, perhaps more important 
than all else, its courts are called upon to establish and lay down 
the principles of common law which are to be supreme within the 
new state. It is true that each new state adopts in .its general 
principles the common law as it prevails generally in the United 
States and England, but the common law as applied in different 
jurisdictions varies greatly. Errors in adopting and applying the 
common law in any new state lead to much injustice, much un- 
certainty in the decisions of the courts, and occasion much un- 
necessary litigation and legislation. No greater benefit can 
be conferred upon a new state than to give it a Supreme Court 
which during its early history adopts and lays down correctly the 
rules of the common law, selecting, where these rules conflict, 
those which experience has shown to be sound and those which 
are best suited to the people of the state. The power and duty 
thus resting upon the Supreme Court in a new state is well 
understood by judges and lawyers, though perhaps imperfectly 
appreciated by the average citizen. 

Judge Flandrau and his two associates, Judges Emmctt and 
Atwater, upon the bench of our Supreme Court performed their 
duty well, and our state is greatly indebted to them for the valu- 
able services rendered. It is no disparagement to his two asso- 
ciates to say that the greater part of this work was performed 
by Judge Flandrau. The decisions of our state Supreme Court 
during the six years when he was a member thereof are reported 
in volumes two to nine of the Minnesota reports. These reported 
decisions numbered 495, and of these Judge Flandrau wrote the 
opinions in 227 cases, or nearly half of all the cases reported while 
he was on the bench . These opinions evince much care and re- 
search. The history of the law is carefully examined and stated. 
The precedents and authorities in other jurisdictions arc ably 
analyzed. Technicalities were abhorrent to Judge Flandrau, 
who brushed them aside where inconsistent with justice. The 
opinions are models of good English and, we think, show a great- 
er degree of care in their preparation than is found in his later 


writings. The sentences are terse, the facts and the principles 
of law are plainly and simply stated without repetition and not at 
unnecessary length . It is superfluous to say that Judge Flandrau 
was a fearless and upright judge. He was by nature a gentle- 
man, and his fearlessness and uprightness were innate and needed 
no training or education for their full development . His opinions 
reflect his character. 

Perhaps the most important, certainly the most notable, of 
Judge Flandrairs opinions, was his dissenting opinion in the 
case of Minnesota & Pacific Railroad Company vs. H . H . Sib- 
ley, Governor (2 Minn., 1). If his opinion had prevailed in- 
stead of that of the tw r o other judges, the state might have been 
spared the discredit of the repudiation of the Railroad Aid bonds. 
The case in brief was as follows : 

By an amendment to the State Constitution adopted April 
15th, 1858, provision was made for the issue of bonds of the 
state, in an amount not exceeding $5,000,000, to several railroad 
companies to aid in the construction of their roads. It was pro- 
vided that, before the bonds were issued, the railroad companies 
should give to the state certain securities, including "an amount 
of first mortgage bonds on the roads, lands and franchises of the 
respective companies corresponding to the State bonds issued." 
The Minnesota & Pacific Railroad Company, claiming to have 
complied with the amendment of the Constitution, demanded of 
Governor Sibley that he issue to it certain State bonds. He re- 
fused to do so for the reason that the bonds of the railroad com- 
pany tendered as security were not such "first mortgage bonds'' 
as the Constitution contemplated. Thereupon the company ap- 
plied to the Supreme Court for a writ of mandamus requiring the 
governor to issue the State bonds, and the writ was issued, two 
of the judges holding with the railroad company, and Judge 
Flandrau dissenting and sustaining the position taken by Gover- 
nor Sibley. When the amendment to the Constitution was 
adopted, the railroad company had not issued any "first mortgage 
bonds." Subsequently it made a first mortgage upon its prop- 
erty to secure an issue of $23,000,000 of bonds, and the bonds 
which it tendered to the State were a small part of this issue. 
The State contended that it wis entitled to Brsl mortgage bonds 
which should be a prior lien upon the railroad superior to that of 



all other bonds, and Judge Flandrau forcibly demonstrated the 
soundness of this position . 

At this date it seems clear that Judge Flandrau was correct, 
and that, at this time, the decision of the court would be contrary 
to the majority opinion. It is certainly a very inadequate pro- 
tection to the State to provide that its debtor shall give it first 
mortgage bonds, and then leave it to the debtor to determine how 
large the total issue shall be of which such first mortgage bonds 
are to be part. It is possible that if Judge Flandrau's views had 
been followed, the State bonds might not have been issued, or, 
if issued, they might have been adequately secured, in either of 
which events the credit of the State would doubtless have re- 
mained unimpaired. 

It is interesting to note further, in reference to this case, that 
the Supreme Court ought not to have taken cognizance of the 
case at all, for the reason, as has since been repeatedly held in 
the same court, that the judiciary has no power to control the 
acts of the chief executive of the State in a case of this kind. 

That Judge Flandrau appreciated the opportunities and duties 
of the court as to settling the common law, is shown bv the fol- 
lowing statement contained in his opinion in the case of Selby vs. 
Stanley (4 Minn., 34) . 

In a new state like our own, we enjoy the advantage of all the light 
which has been thrown upon questions, without being tied down by 
precedents which are admitted to be founded in error; and, therefore, 
we are free to select, as the basis of our decisions, whatever may appear 
to be founded on principle and reason, rejecting what is spurious and 
unsound, even if dignified by age and the forced recognition of more 
learned and able judges. 

In State VS. Bilausky (3 Minn., 169), the defendant was 
convicted of the murder of her husband and sought to escape 
punishment by pleading the ancient common-law privilege of 
clergy. The opinion by Judge Flandrau is particularly interest- 
ing by reason of his learned account of the origin and purpose of 
this ancient privilege. The opinion held that the defendant was 
not entitled to the privilege, and she paid the penalty of the law. 

In another murder case, Bonfanti vs. State {2 Minn.. 99), 
Judge Flandrau, speaking of a statute which authorized the com- 


mitment to an insane asylum of one acquitted of crime on the 
ground of insanity if manifestly dangerous, says that "the statute 
very sensibly declares that when a jury is called upon to acquit a 
prisoner of a crime on the ground that he was insane, they shall 
not acquit him of the one without convicting him of the other/' 
Unfortunately many juries and courts fail to follow Judge Fla.n- 
drau's opinion and to see to it that one so acquitted should be 
put in an insane asylum. 

In True vs. True, (6 Minn., 315), which was an action for 
divorce, we find the importance and sanctity of the marriage re- 
lation upheld by Judge Flandrau in the following eloquent and 
forceful language : 

The contract of marriage differs from all other contracts, in being 
indissoluble by the action of the parties to it, and of perpetually binding 
obligation until discharged by a competent court. It is the most im- 
portant of the social relations. It is sanctioned by Divine authority, 
and recognized by all Christian nations as the palladium of virtue, mor- 
ality, social order, and the permanent happiness of the human race*. 
To its auspicious influence may be traced the great advances made in 
civilization, through the elevation of woman to social equality, the edu- 
cation of children, the refinement of manners, the improved sense of 
justice, the enlightened cultivation of the arts, and the physical devel- 
opment of man ; and, above all, is it valuable as awakening in the human 
heart those chaste and exalted conceptions ,of virtue, which, in spiritual- 
izing the mind, and subduing the grosser passions of men, give moral 
character and grandeur to the state. It is the only lawful relation for 
the continuance of the species, and the perpetuity of the choicest benefits 
permitted by Providence to the enjoyment of man, and as such should 
engage the most profound solicitude of the legislator and the courts, to 
preserve it unsullied in its purity, and transmit it to posterity with its 
integrity unimpaired. 

It were well if our divorce courts paid more attention to this 
noble and just statement of the law as to marriage. 

It is impossible to quote at length from the many able 
opinions delivered by Judge Flandrau, but it may be proper to 
notice a few of interest to the legal profession. In Gates VS. . 
Smith (2 Minn., 21) is an able exposition of the method of 
pleading as provided by the Code, then quite new. as a substitute 
for the common-law methods. In Gn'«l« W. Br\):r. (2 Minn., 
72) we find an exhaustive investigation into the power 0! the 


legislature under the Constitution of the United States, to exempt 
a fair and limited amount of property from seizure under execu- 
tion for debts created prior to the exemption. In McComb vs. 
Thompson (2 Minn., 114) is laid down the salutary rule which 
has ever since prevailed in this state, that a party signing a note 
upon the back at its inception, is to be treated as a maker. In 
Steele vs. Fish (2 Minn, 129), is found probably the first decis- 
ion under our statute relating to actions to determine adverse 
claims, and which did much to simplify and make effective the 
purpose of this valuable statute in quieting the title to real estate. 

In Sclby vs. Stanley (4 Minn., 34), limiting vendor's liens, 
and Gardner vs. McClure (6 Minn., 167), repudiating common- 
law mortgages by deposit of the title deeds, we find exhaustive 
and able opinions relieving this state of unsound and dangerous 
principles which had prevailed in many common-law jurisdic- 
tions . 

That Judge Flandrau never favored harsh or unequal taxa- 
tion is shown by his opinions in McComb vs. Bell (2 Minn., 
256), City of St. Paul vs. Seitz (3 Minn., 205), Foster vs. 
Commissioners (7 Minn., 84), and Board vs. Parker (7 Minn., 
207) . His hostility to excessive interest is found in Mason vs. 
Callender (2 Minn., 302), where the holder of a note was held 
not entitled to interest after the maturity of the note as stipulated 
therein at the rate of five per cent per month. 

An important opinion is that of Regents vs. Hart (7 Minn., 
45), determining the status and rights of the State University 
and its regents. 

Among many other valuable opinions, we may mention 
State vs. Batchcldcr (5 Minn., 178), relating to the passing of 
the title of land from the general government ; Heyzvard vs. Judd 
(4 Minn., 375), relating to an attempt by the legislature to vio- 
late contract rights by enlarging the period of redemption from 
foreclosure; Filley vs. Register (4 Minn., 296), as to fraudulent 
conveyances; Butler vs. Paine (8 Minn., 284), as to a note pay- 
"able in "currency;"' and Arnold vs. Wainwfight (6 Minn.. 241), 
on the subject of partnership. 

In closing this .brief review of Judge Handrail's opinions, 
we shall quote from Roos vs. State (6 Minn., 291), and Sufer- 
znsors vs. Ileenan (2 Minn., 281), his statement as to methods 


which prevailed in our territorial legislature and which cast a 
side-light on our territorial history. In the latter case was in- 
volved the constitutional provision requiring the subject of an 
act to be stated in the title, and the opinion says : 

- A knowledge of the character of the legislation which preceded the 
forming of a state constitution, will show that a very vicious system 
prevailed of inserting matter in acts, which was entirely foreign to that 
expressed in the title, and by this means securing the passage of laws 
which would never have received the sanction of the legislature, had the 
members known the contents of the act .... [The constitutional pro- 
vision] means to secure to the people fair and intelligible legislation, free 
from all the tricks and finesse which have heretofore disgraced it. 

In the former case, relating to change of county lines, Judge 
Flandrau says : 

During the territorial existence of Minnesota, a very great evil had 
grown up in the legislation of the country, consequent upon the feverish 
excitement that prevailed for the creation of towns and cities, and the 
speculation in lots and lands. It was the constant practice of the legisla- 
ture to change county lines, and the county seats of counties from one 
town to another, at the solicitation of interested parties, without a full 
understanding of the wishes and interests of the people of the counties 
affected. Instances even occurred where such removals were carried 
through the legislature without the knowledge of that body, by inserting 
clauses in bills, surreptitiously, the title of which indicated entirely another 

This society has had frequent occasion of late years to bear 
testimony to the fine character and notable services of many of 
its deceased members, who have made so creditable the history 
of this state. It has not been called upon to record its apprecia- 
tion of a nobler character than that of Judge Flandrau. His in- 
tegrity and honesty in purpose and act could never be questioned. 
Indirection or evasion were foreign to his character and his in- 

He was intensely human, in the sense that he felt the broth- 
erhood of mankind. Kindly in disposition, he ever sympathized 
with and aided his less fortunate fellow men. Well do I remem- 
ber his kindly interest and companionship with the poor and 
rather turbulent population In the vicinity of his home in St. 
Paul. With these people he was a friend, and where KlOSt men 


would have found only disturbing and disagreeable neighbors, he 
found only devoted friends. 

He had, as might have been expected in such a gentleman, a 
natural and inborn courteous manner. His manners were not 
the mere result of training and polish, and hence he could never 
be intentionally unkind or discourteous. This trait in Judge 
Flandrau's character, added to his legal ability, made him a strong 
advocate. No lawyer at the bar was a more dangerous opponent 
before a jury. 

His hospitality was unlimited, and his friends were without 
number. With a charming and brilliant wife, surrounded by his 
children, his home in St. Paul has for many years been a center 
in social life. He will long be held in remembrance in the com- 
munity, and he has left to his sorrowing wife and children the 
inestimable heritage of a good name and an unsullied character. 



Mr. President: The City of New Ulm desires to join with 
you in these fitting eulogies on the life and character of Judge 
Charles E. Flandrau, so ably pronounced by the speakers of the 
evening. The Mayor of our city received an invitation for him- 
self, city officers, and citizens, from the secretary of your society, 
to be present at this memorial meeting. The city council ap- 
pointed a committee of four of its members to represent that body 
at these exercises, and they are present with me here tonight. 
The Mayor, the Hon. Dr. C. Weschcke, made all preparations to 
come, but found that the state of his health would not permit him 
to do so. He has, however, commissioned me to represent him, 
and to say a few words for him on behalf of the city, should 
occasion present itself. 

I will ask your indulgence for a few moments, and, as the 
hour is late, I purpose to be brief in my remarks . 

In August, 1862, New Ulm was a mere hamlet on the west- 
ern frontier of this state ; the prairies of southwestern Minnesota 
were swarming with the bloodthirsty Sioux; and New Ulm* was 
the objective point on which they intended to wreak their ven- 
geance for real or imaginary wrongs suffered at the hands of the 
whites. At that time most of the young and able-bodied men of 
New Ulm were at the front in the south fighting for the flag of 
liberty. Those remaining at home were poorly armed and not 
fitted to withstand the fierce onslaught of a treacherous and in- 
human foe. It was in the nick of time that Judge Flandrau ar- 
rived on the scene with his force to relieve the endangered place. 
I believe that I am correct in making the assertion that, if the 
Sioux had succeeded in annihilating the little town of New Ulm, 
our neighbors to the east might have shared the same late. 


New Ulm, now a city of over 6,000 inhabitants, remembers 
with gratitude the gallant services of Judge Flandrau and his 
men, rendered in the hour of their greatest need. The lines of 
the defenders of that place are getting thin, and a large number 
of the associates of Judge Flandrau, in the defense of New Ulm, 
have preceded their gallant commander to their last resting place. 
It will not be many years before the few remaining eye witnesses 
of that memorable struggle will have passed away. Then, Mr. 
President, the records of your society will stand as the faithful 
witness to give true testimony to the future historian of what hap- 
pened on the frontier of Minnesota in the early days . 

Some years ago, the State of Minnesota erected a shaft with 
a memorial tablet in the City of New Ulm to commemorate the 
battle there with the Sioux Indians . It is located in a prominent 
place in the city, near the corner of what we call Schoolhouse 
Square. On it the name of Charles E. Flandrau stands out in 
bold relief, as a silent tutor to the youth passing on his way to 
school, to inspire in him a spirit of gallantry and patriotism should 
the hour of need and occasion for its exercise ever arrive. 

The record of the life and actions of Judge Flandrau is 
closed, but it stands forth as a shining example of the highest 
type, safely to be followed by any enterprising youth of this state 
for generations to come. 

Vol. X. I'LATM XXI. 




The charter of the Historical Society ordains that one of its 
objects, among others, shall be "to rescue from oblivion the 
memory of the early pioneers and to obtain and preserve narra- 
tives of their exploits, perils and hardy adventures." It is well. 
The lives of prominent and leading - men are so connected with 
the important events of the past, that they portray in vivid real- 
ity the processes by which those events were brought about. An 
impersonal history could hardly be written, and if it could, it 
would lack the element which gives it life and vigor and confi- 
dence in its truth. The subject remaining for consideration at 
this session is the life and influence of John Benjamin Sanborn, 
who died in St. Paul on the 16th day of May, 1904. 

General Sanborn was a member of this Society for forty- 
eight years, a member of its Executive Council for twenty-eight 
years, an officer of it for thirteen years, and he was its president 
when he died. His contributions to its literature comprise many 
articles of historical value, and its treasures have been enriched 
by his bounty. From the time he became a member of its Ex- 
ecutive Council to the day of his death, no man was more con- 
stant than he in attendance upon its meetings, or more devoted 
to its work ; and no one engaged more freely in its discussions 
upon incidents of the past. He had lived in the sphere of hu- 
man activities, had a retentive memory, and helped to elucidate 
events around which the gloom of time was settling. His last 
lalx)rs were for this Society. Less than three months before he 
died, he prepared a paper on "The Work of the Second Legisla- 
ture of Minnesota. 1859-60." which was read before the Council 
at its session of March 14, 1904, he, though present, not being 
able to read it. 



The record of our obituaries shows how rapidly the old 
pioneers, those who came down to us from Territorial and ante- 
Territorial days, are passing away. We are upon the verge of 
a new epoch. The peiod of construction is fast giving away 
to that of conservation. The light of the faces of the old pio- 
neers is fading into shadow, their companionship is passing 
from a reality to a memory. A few old Romans are left to us. 
most of whom are peacefully and gracefully bearing the burden 
of years. To spare them, one by one, will be a reiterated sor- 

I cannot refrain from saying that no border country was 
ever ushered into the light of formal and salutary social order by 
a body of men more judicious, courageous, or possessing higher 
qualities of manliness and refinement, than are to be found 
among the leading spirits of the old pioneers of Minnesota. If 
there be any who think that contact with primeval things dulls 
the sensibilities or debases the character, to refute such conten- 
tion, we have only to point to the innate and never failing 
courtesy, kindliness, hospitality, refinement and gentility of the 
leading pioneers, both men and women, who ushered into life 
the State of Minnesota. 

John B. Sanborn was a prominent man in the city of his 
adoption, and in the Territory and State for half a century. I 
knew him in his native State of New Hampshire, and when I 
came to St. Paul, a few months after the admission of the State 
to the Union, I found him, so soon, at the head of one of the 
leading law firms of the city. From that time to the day of his 
death his name stood at the head of a prominent firm of lawyers. 
His professional career was subject to many interruptions, and 
though other and important work was given him to do, the law 
was his chosen profession. 

I should say that his most prominent and distinguished rift, 
as a lawyer, was his ability of bringing men who started out 
with litigious intentions, together, and by his good sense and 
practical sagacity effecting a settlement, satisfactory to b ' 
There is no more valuable service a lawyer can render a client 
than this. In matters which involved doubtful legal questions, 
or where the facts were unsolved, or for any other reason re-, rt 
to a trial in court became necessary, he demonstrated in public 


the same ability to fight, as he exercised in private to conciliate; 
but the contest was courteous, though it might be strenuous. 

Mr. Sanborn acted a prominent part in the framing of the 
laws of the State. He was a member of the famous legislature 
of 1859, whose wise and judicious work in planting the new 
state government on solid ground, and in throwing safeguards 
around its vital interests, is universally recognized ; and, as 
chairman of the judiciary committee of the House of Represent- 
atives, he took a leading part in that legislation. He repeatedly 
afterward served in the House and Senate. When some one 
was wanted to represent with ability and fidelity the interests of 
the city and State, his neighbors repeatedly turned to him, and 
though he was a Republican in politics and lived in a city of 
Democratic proclivities, I do not remember that he was ever 
defeated at the polls. By this service he became identified with 
much of the important legislation of the State. 

In civic life there was no one more ready than he to lend 
a hand. He was never too busy or too tired to take vigorous 
hold of matters important to the welfare of the community. He 
did not need urging. He saw the need or danger, and readily 
and cheerfully co-operated with his neighbors in devising and 
executing measures to supply the one, or to avert the other. He 
was always a busy man. I do not think he knew what idleness 
was. Blessed by nature with a vigorous constitution, he hardly 
realized the necessity of rest and recuperation, either by himself 
or others. 

When the nation's life was threatened, he laid down the 
arts of peace and took up the business of war. His first military 
work was the organization of troops as Adjutant General of the 
State; his later service was in executing war in the field. He 
served in the War of the Rebellion as commander of a regi- 
ment, a brigade, and a division, under the eye of a superior 
officer, and in independent command. In a service of four years, 
he rose from the rank of a colonel of volunteers to that of brig- 
adier general and brevet major general. He always met the de- 
mands upon him. In sudden emergencies, whether arising in 
subordinate or independent command, in the field of battle, or in 
strategic movements, he was always equal to the occasion; he 

took without shrinking the responsibility of prompt decision 




and decisive action; and what he did never failed to meet the 
approval of his superiors. 

In his social life he was always the courteous gentleman, 
kind, considerate, composed, free from the perturbations of 
anger or fear, just, and benevolent almost to a fault 

General Sanborn was an all round man. His influence was 
exerted and felt in many directions. He was prominent in pro- 
fessional, public, civic, and military life, a career that falls to 
the lot of but few men. It is hardly to be expected that a man 
whose field of activity is so broad and diversified should be pre- 
eminent in any particular line. There is a limit to the human 
powers. But I should say that the highest and most incontest- 
able claim of General Sanborn for distinction was his ability, 
bearing and accomplishments as a soldier. 

Was it a useful ife? The greatest of the English poets and 
dramatists, that great analyst of the human mind and character, 
that great estimator of human values, said, "Every man is worth 
just so much as the things are worth about which he busies 
himself;" and it takes but a superficial knowledge cf the great 
poet, who taught by the vivid painting of contrasts as well as 
by precept, to realize that, in his great mind, the worthiest 
things -^or a man to do are those which promote the well being 
of mankind, and which dignify and ennoble human nature. Try 
General Sanborn by this high standard. The things about which 
he busied himself, in a long, busy, influential and eventful life, 
were important to society, the State, and his country. If he ever 
condescended to an ignoble act, I know it not. What better 
title to respect, honor, and commemoration, can any man 

General Sanborn was a man of strong religious conviction. 
He was always a firm supporter of the Christian Church. Up 
to the time of his death he not only cheerfully contributed to 
the support of a prominent church in the city from his moans, 
but gave the management of its temporal affairs the benefit of 
his busines ability. He was not ostentatious or obtrusive in 
matters of religion or morals. lie taught by example rather 
than by precept. After he knew that his work was done and 
that he had but a short time to stay, he said his lite had been 
a happy one, that he had tried to do the best he could, that his 


life had already been prolonged beyond the allotted age, and 
that he was reconciled to the will of God. And when the sum- 
mons of the great Master came, like a good soldier he answered, 
"Ready"; and in peace and serenity, and with hope and trust in 
the mercies of God, he laid down his mortal life and passed to 
his reward. 

In order that the record of the life of such a man may be 
preserved, with circumstance, event, and elucidation, and that 
due honor may be done to his memory, I have the honor of 
presenting to you the Hon. Henry W. Childs, the orator of the 
occasion, who will address us 1 upon the life and influence of 
John B. Sanborn. . 



"All history," says Emerson, "resolves itself very easily into 
the biography of a few stout and earnest persons." The his- 
tory of New England is the biography of the "stout and earn- 
est persons" who, in senate chamber and pulpit, on rostrum and 
battlefield, with pen and sword and voice, have fought for truth 
and justice. They are her household names. They live in her 
family trees and upon her tablets. In no other section of our 
country has there been a more complete blending of public and 
family history than in New England ; nowhere else has there 
prevailed a truer conception of personal rights, or a greater ten- 
acity for their preservation. 

Life was ever serious to the New Englander. A sense of 
responsibility weighed heavily upon him ; duty called to him 
not in vain ; deep earnestness moved him. The poverty of the 
soil which he tilled, and the rigors of the climate in which he 
lived, exacted labor and taught the lessons of thrift and economy. 
Out of the hard conditions of New England life, came forth a 
race of giants. Big-brained and strong-limbed, they have ex- 
pounded constitutions, sung immortal songs, occupied the high 
seats of learning, commanded armies, felled forests', and founded 

It is said that between the landing of the Pilgrims and the 
uprising against Charles I, twenty thousand emigrants came 
from Old England to New England. All came for conscience' 
sake. Among them were William Sanborn, for several years 
selectman of his town and a soldier in King Philip's War. and 
William Sargent, the former arriving in 1632, the latter in 
163S. From these two immigrants flows the American 

ancestry of our subject. Xo character appears in either 
ancestral line which attained conspicuous eminence. "There 


seems to be," said General Sanborn, "so far as I am able to 
learn, nothing striking, except their regular, orderly life, and 
freedom from all crimes and offenses." Such language implies 
nothing of discredit and would be equally applicable to the an- 
cestry of many a distinguished American. On the paternal side, 
a great-grandfather, and, on the maternal side, a grandfather, 
served in the patriot army in the war of the Revolution, the 
latter for six years, embracing the historic winter at Valley 

John Benjamin Sanborn was born at Epsom, New Hamp- 
shire, December 5th, 1826, on the family homestead which, in his 
own words, had "descended by primogeniture from generation 
to generation since 1750." The old homestead, it is 1 worthy of 
remark, still remains in the possession of the descendants of 
his father, thus showing an unbroken ownership by the San- 
borns from a date almost contemporaneous with the birth of 
Washington. This fact, mos't exceptional in American life, is 
an eloquent tribute to a beautiful family sentiment. 

General Sanborn was the youngest of a family of five child- 
ren born of the wedlock of Frederick Sanborn and Lucy L. 
Sargent. His early life was spent upon his father's farm, and, 
until he was well on in his teens, he intended to follow his fath- 
er's vocation. "It was my purpose," he informs us, "up to the 
time that I was' sixteen years of age, to remain at home and 
take charge of the homestead in Epsom and care for my par- 
ents through their old age; but the failure of the health of my 
brother, Henry F. Sanborn, during his senior year in college, 
changed this plan." That the lad was not swift in seeking an- 
other vocation or eager to win the bays of scholarship, may 
justly be inferred ; for, although his mother earnestly urged him 
to his books, he lingered on the farm until he had reached the 
age of twenty-three. He then determined to prepare for the 
legal profession, and, accordingly, fitted hims'elf for college at 
Pembroke Academy. New Hampshire, and Thetford Academy, 
Vermont, and entered Dartmouth College in the fall of 1851, 
at the age of twenty-five. Aroused, perhaps, by a consciousness 
of fleeting years and the importance of an immediate devotion to 
the study of his chosen profession, he severed his relations with 
Dartmouth, as a s'lndont, at the close of his first term. and. in 
the following Spring, entered the law office of Asa Fowler, Esq., 


at Concord, New Hampshire. His association with Judge 
Fowler was of good omen. That gentleman then stood high at 
the bar of his state and was subsequently elevated to a place 
upon the bench, a mark of great distinction in a state where the 
judicial office is a testimonial of high professional and personal 
qualification. Whatever may be said of the advantages of the 
law school, it can never supply to a brainy young man the in- 
tellectual stimulus derived from a course of study pursued in 
the office of a strong lawyer. He is a daily inspiration to a 
gifted youth. General Sanborn was no ordinary student, and 
his 1 instructor was no ordinary lawyer. Two bright, noble minds 
were for a period of two years, and until separated by the ad- 
mission of the student to the bar in the month of July, 1854, 
thus brought into almost daily contact. 

Let us pause for a moment to take a mental view of our 
lamented president when, fifty years ago, he had received from 
the Superior Court of New Hampshire a certificate of qualifica- 
tion authorizing him to practice before the courts of that state. 
He is within a few months of twenty-eight years of age. His 
carriage is erect and noble; his' frame, if net stalwart, is yet 
strongly built and well proportioned. A large and well-formed 
head is covered with an abundance of dark hair. His face is 
strong and manly, his voice rich and pleasing, and he meets your 
gaze with an eye full, dark, keen, and thoughtful. There is un- 
mistakably the happy unison of healthy brain and body, the 
richest legacies youth can enjoy. There is, indeed, a man, self- 
poised, firm-footed, "swift to hear, slow to s"pcak, slow to 
wrath." New England has sent forth more gifted sons, but 
none truer ; none better fitted to fill the breach or face the storm. 
He bore in the cells of his blood a pledge of loyalty to New 
England traditions; and in a half century of subsequent life, 
filled with affairs, he was never faithless to that pledge. 

With rare exceptions, it is a trying moment with a young 
lawyer when he comes to select the field where the professional 
blade is to be drawn and life's work performed; and our subject 
was no exception. Almost immediately upon his admission to 
the bar, he opened an office at Concord, New Hampshire; and 
a few months later he formed the acquaintance of Theodore 
French, Esq., of Concord, who had but recently completed a 


course of law at Cambridge. Already both young men had 
been casting glances toward that great, undeveloped domain, 
rapidly coming into public notice, lying west of the Mississippi. 
"It was concluded by both of us," he again informs us', "that 
we ought to leave New England and settle somewhere in the 
Northwest/' Having formed this -resolution, it was their good 
fortune soon to meet Air. Paul R. George, who had but recently 
visited St. Paul. His description of the territory of ]\finnesota 
was warm and persuasive. St. Paul was, in his opinion, destined 
to become a great city. The die was then cast; and the twain, 
late in November, 1854, visited Boston, where a few hundred 
dollars were invested in law books, whereupon they started 
on their westward journey, reaching St. Paul in the month of 
December, 1854. 

On the first day of January, 1855, the two young men 
opened a law office at St. Paul for the practice of their profes- 
sion. The first public announcement of this new acces'sion to 
the bar of the Territory appeared in the columns of the Daily 
Pioneer, under date of January 15th, 1855, m tne following 
notice : 


Attorneys and Counselors at Law, Commis- 
sioners for New England States. Office in the "Rice 
House," St. Anthony street. 

John E. Sanborn. Theodore French. 

• .1 

Then, for the first time, appeared in the public press of 
Minnesota a name which was? destined, in the course of years, 
to gain a high place in the public thought, and to live forever 
in the history of a great commonwealth, and in the records of 
one of the world's greatest wars. 

The new firm found a bar of great promise already formed 
in this remote field, which grew apace in strength and numbers 
within the next few years. The first few volumes of the official 
reports of the Supreme Court of this State, particularly the 
first and second, will ever have an increasing historic interest, 
far surpassing that which shall attach to the judicial opinions 
therein recorded, whatever their merit ; for they will constitute 


a perpetual record and testimonial of the bright intellects which 
illumined both bench and bar at the beginning- of our history. 
It is, perhaps, just to say that no state was ever favored at its' 
birth with a bar of superior worth. 

The name of John B. Sanborn appears as one of the attor- 
neys in four of the causes presented to the Supreme Court in 
1858. Thenceforward for more than four decades, excepting the 
period he was engaged in the military service of his country, his 
name is frequently met in the files^ of causes tried in the state 
and federal courts. 

It is almost trite to say that Minnesota was fortunate 
in the character of the men who shaped her policies during 
her early development. To whatever cause it be ascribed, the 
fact remains that a class of remarkable men gathered here to 
perform the various tasks incident to the creation of a new 
state. But the cause is 1 not obscure. It required no seer fifty 
years ago to foretell somewhat of that which civilization would 
speedily achieve here. There was then rich promise here in the 
undisturbed wealth of mine, forest, and' prairie. There was 
captivating beauty then in the garb with which nature had here 
bedecked herself. There were then uncomputed possibilities 
in energy of waterfall. Then, as now, there was unexcelled 
salubrity of climate; and, with all, a manifest advantage of sit- 
uation. Whoever came felt, as did Mr. George, the impress 
of the greatness of an unborn future. Long before Proctor 
Knott had convulsed his countrymen with a speech as marked 
with slander as with wit, truer men than he had, after pains- 
taking research, called attention to the rich domain which 
awaited here the advent of the forces of civilized life. "The 
sun shines not upon a fairer region," wrote, in 1850, that faith- 
ful witness, General Sibley, ' l one more desirable as a home 
for the mechanic, the farmer, and the laborer, or where their 
industry will be more surely requited, than Minnesota Ter- 
ritory." Here were the conditions which appealed to adven- 
turous youth and early manhood, — those who face the dawn. 
There was enough of doubt and danger to repel the weak ami 
timid and attract the strong and brave. The treat) of [851 
had opened the gates, and soon the tide of immigration was 
pouring through. It brought sonic who were fresh from the 


schools and the refining influences of the best of eastern homes. 
Stirred by the novelty of their environment, and evincing- that 
same generous and ambitious s"pirit which; has ever prompted 
American youth, they labored with tireless industry and great 
ability upon the foundations of the Commonwealth. 

When General Sanborn arrived in the Territory, much had 
already been done; but the far greater labor was yet ahead, 
and, happily, the workmen were in the field, or soon to be there\ 
with thought and energy commensurate with the task. 

It required effort to secure from a reluctant Congress an 
act authorizing the gathering people to clothe themselves in sov- 
ereign power. Then came the study and debate incident to the 
framing of a constitution. A system of legislation had to be en- 
acted suitable to local government. A wilderness had to be 
pierced with highways, not only to bring together scattered com- 
munities but also to secure relations with the markets of the 
East. These and many other Subjects, public and private, en- 
gaged the thought and enlisted the energies of the enterprising 
young men who were then upon the scene. Little, far too little, 
has been preserved to us of the forensic efforts of that intensely 
interesting period of our history. 

Many a stirring appeal which we would now gladly possess 
lives only in the fading memories' of the favored few who are 
fast entering into the shadow of the grave. 

General Sanborn had passed six years upon that eventful 
stage before he received the call to lay aside the lawyer's brief 
and take his place in the red fringe of battle. They had been to 
him years of great civic as well as professional profit. In that 
brief period he had impressed himself upon his' fellow citizens as 
a coming man. 

The more the question is examined, the stronger will the 
conviction grow that the legislature which convened in this state 
in i860, if ever equalled, has never been surpassed by anv later 
one, either as to the nature or the comprehensiveness of the 
work accomplished. Fortunate in the character of the men who 
composed it. that legislature framed many measures which have 
a durable place in the system of laws by which we air governed. 

Not that they have not undergone or shall not undergo modifica- 
tion, but that their general struetnre, which has survived the fur- 



nace heat of the past forty-four years, will commend itself to the 
wisdom of the future. 

As chairman of the judiciary committee of the lower house 
during that session, General Sanborn occupied a position of ex- 
ceptional responsibility. His selection for the place from among 
the able lawyers who composed that body, some of whom have 
since won great distinction in public and private walks, was a 
marked expression of the respect in which he was then, held both 
as a citizen and as a lawyer. Another circumstance is far too ex- 
pressive of the public esteem which he had acquired in those 
early days to be now passed in silence. In the Republican cau- 
cus, held in i860, to make choice of a candidate for the office of 
United States Senator, he lacked but two votes of receiving the 
great honor which was conferred upon the late Hon. Morton S. 
Wilkinson. Every man can trace to some seemingly trivial cir- 
cumstance — an opportunity seized or lost — his prosperous or 
failing fortunes ; but not often are we presented with an occa- 
sion in human life which, viewed in the light of subsequent 
events, demonstrates more clearly how slender may be the 
thread, at times, on which a great career depends. 

None of the war governors excelled our own lamented Ram- 
sey either in patriotic spirit or the promptitude with which he 
executed measures in support of the National Government. No 
subject lay closer to his heart than the organization of troops for 
military service. Rarely at fault in his choice of men for public 
station, he was too wise to err in the selection of an officer who 
would sustain to him so close a relationship as that ©f his Adju- 
tant General." When the gallant William H. Acker resigned the 
office of Adjutant General, April 24, 1861, General Sanborn was 
appointed to succeed him. No wiser choice was, perhaps, possi- 
ble. His administration of the office bespeaks the faithful public 
servant. During his brief incumbency, which ended January 1. 
1862, four regiments of infantry, two batteries of artillery, and 
four squadrons of cavalry, were organized for military service. 

But it was for him to lead rather than muster troops. Trior 
to his retirement from the last named office, and on November 
5, 1861, he had been commissioned and mustered in as Colonel 
of the Fourth Regiment of Minnesota Volunteers. He assumed 
its command January 1, 1862. His entrance into military life 


was the beginning of a career which, tested either by the nature 
of the duty or the ability displayed in its discharge, constitutes 
his 1 chief work, and entitles him to a permanent place in the his- 
tory of his country. 

The best panegyric upon the military services of General 
Sanborn are the rank he attained, the magnitude of the work 
to which he was assigned, and the generous and unstudied testi- 
monials of his companions in arms. He was cool and stead- 
fast in the face of danger, wise in council, and never received 
a promotion which was not fairly earned. 

We begin our brief review of his active military service 
when, in the early summer of 1862, his regiment had become 
identified with the army of the Mississippi at Corinth. The 
magnificent display of Union forces, aggregating one hundred 
and fifty thousand men, which had then gathered in front of 
that stronghold, appealed to the patriotic sentiments of the 
young colonel, who, speaking of it years afterward, declared 
that it "struck the mind with amazement and led to the convic- 
tion that a government that could thus raise and organize arm- 
ies, could not be torn to pieces or conquered, either by covert 
foes or organized revolution." 

It was at Iuka, where he commanded a brigade, that he first 
faced the storm of battle and where he played his first brilliant 
part. Confronted with greatly superior numbers, his command 
there repeatedly repelled the assaults of the enemy. In an ac- 
tion lasting less than two hours, more than twenty-five per cent, 
of his 1 followers were killed or wounded. The gallantry dis- 
played by him in that engagement drew from General Hamil- 
ton, his division commander, the following generous tribute: 
"To Col. J. B. Sanborn, who, in this his first battle, exhibited a 
coolness and bravery under fire worthy a veteran, I am greatly 
indebted;" and he cordially commended him "to the favorable 
notice of the Government." 

A few days later, at the battle of Corinth, he acted with 
equal ability and courage. Ordered to dislodge the enemy from 
a well chosen position, his command, with great coolness and 
precision, changed front under heavy fire, and charged with 
such effect that the enemy was put to flight. General Buford, 
in his report of the battle, expressed the opinion that the dis- 



lodgment of the enemy was "absolutely necessary," and that "it 
was done by Colonel Sanborn, commanding the Fourth Min- 
nesota, most gallantly." 

His services at the battles of Iuka and Corinth fairly en- 
titled him to immediate promotion. So thought his division 
commander, who warmly, recommended it ; and so thought Gen- 
eral Grant, whose powerful endorsement it received. Lincoln 
was not slow to act, and as* early as December, 1862, appointed 
him to the rank of brigadier general. Confirmation of the ap- 
pointment, retarded perhaps by local political influences, was 
unjus'tly delayed until the following session of Congress. Stung 
by a sense of the ingratitude implied by the delay, General San- 
born, early in August, 1863, tendered his resignation, which 
had the salutary effect of silencing opposition to his confirma- 
ation, which soon followed, and, so far as possible, repaired 
the wrong which had been inflicted ; but the loss of relative 
rank, carrying with it a loss of military prestige in the army 
in which he had theretofore performed so useful a part, was 
an inevitable consequence. 

Aside from the engagements above noted, he s'aw much of 
active service throughout the period of his connection with the 
Army of the Mississippi. In many of that series of engage- 
ments, culminating in the capitulation of Vicksburg, he held 
important commands. He did good work at Raymond : made 
a brilliant and effective charge at Jackson ; fought splendidly 
at Champion's Hill ; held his command for hours in the dead 
space, under the enemy's works, in the fruitless assault upon 
Vicksburg; and his was the honor of being one of the two 
brigade commanders designated to occupy Vicksburg on the 
4th of July, 1863, when that stronghold was surrendered. 

It was 1 the ambition of General Sanborn to continue in 
service under the immediate leadership of the great soldier 
whose military genius had displayed itself in brilliant light at 
Vicksburg. He not only admired the chieftain, but he loved the 
man. He had enjoyed his companionship in the camp, wit- 
nessed his marvelous self-control when battle raged, and won 
laurels in the execution of his commands. Twenty-two y{ ars 
afterward, when the ardor of youth had been chastened by rip- 
ened judgment, he paid to his illustrious commander the follow- 


ing tribute: "Considering his character with reference particu- 
larly to his military achievements, he stands before the world 
greater than Alexander, greater than Caesar, greater than Na- 
poleon, and of equal greatness with Wellington." 

It was a great disappointment, therefore, when, in the 
month of October, 1863, he was ordered to report to General 
Schofield at St. Louis. He was not ignorant of the fact that 
it had long been remarked in army circles that "the Depart- 
ment of the Missouri was the graveyard of military reputa- 
tions." Though the new field might afford abundant employ- 
ment, he did not doubt that the theater of the great events of 
the war would thereafter be to the east rather than to the west 
of the Mississippi. Viewing the subject in the calm retrospect 
of today, enlightened by the record of his labors in the new 
field, so varied, perplexing, and important, yet always well dis- 
charged, it may be doubted whether any other field would have 
developed in him greater powers of usefulness to his country. 

Missouri had been from the outset a hotbed of contentious 
factions. Saved frcm secession only by the dauntless efforts 
of her loyal forces under the leadership of her valiant Lyon, 
her territory had been swept by invading hosts, her commun- 
ities terrorized by armed marauders, and her soil frequently 
drenched with the blood of her own sons, in conflicts in which 
they were arrayed one against the other. The patriotic men 
of that state had doubtless always been in the ascendant; but 
she had few, if any, communities in wliich neighbor was not 
bitterly hostile to neighbor. And this was particularly true of 
southwestern Missouri, embraced within the military district to 
which General Sanborn was assigned. 

When he reported to General Schofield in October, 1S63, 
there was no organized rebel force in the state; and yet he was 
confronted with war in its most horrible aspects. His district 
was everywhere infested with bushwhackers who butchered their 
captives with inhuman atrocity. To pacify a country so dis- 
turbed, was a herculean task ; but his prompt and vigorous 
measures were to prove sufficient to it. 

The invasion of the state in the fall of 1S64 by a large cav- 
alry force of Confederates under General Trice gave Genera! 
Sanborn an opportunity to display again his qualities as a CORi- 


manding officer in the field. During the month of October of 
that year, frequent battles were waged with the invading force 
in which he 'participated. He fought and repuls'ed the enemy 
at Jefferson City and at Boonville ; led the advance at Inde- 
pendence, where his cavalry made an intrepid sabre charge; did 
effective work at Mine Creek, where, by the persistency of his 
efforts, he prevented the escape of the enemy unpunished. At 
Newtonia he fought so well as to draw from Greeley, in his 
History of the War, this spirited passage: "Belmont, with his 
Kansas men and Benteen's brigade, followed by Sanborn, kept 
the trail or the flying foe ; striking them at Newtonia, near the 
southwest corner of the state, and, being outnumbered, was evi- 
dently getting worsted, when Sanborn — who had marched one 
Hundred and two miles in thirty-six hours — came up, and 
changed the fortunes of the day. ... So ended the last 
Rebel invasion of Missouri." And so ended the last battle in 
which our subject participated. 

No ingenuous reader can carefully peruse the military rec- 
ord of General Sanborn without admiration for his' qualities 
as a soldier. He was a successful commander. Engaged in 
"twenty sieges, battles, and affairs/' his command never failed 
to execute an order, "was never driven from its position, never 
pursued by the enemy," and never suffered the loss by capture 
of a single sound soldier. This is a remarkable statement, sub- 
stantially in language as penned by our subject, yet careful 
research has failed to disclose any ground for its modification. 
A career marked with so large a measure of success cannot be 
ascribed to the mere capriciousness of fortune. The favorites 
of fortune are the brave, the wis'e, the prompt, the vigilant. His 
sword flashed too often in the fray ; there were too many forced 
marches, too many desperate charges, too many repulses of the 
enemy, too much of dogged persistency, to justify disparage- 
ment of his military fame by any form of specious reasoning. 
If he was not a great, he was yet an able, commander. 

His sagacity nowhere displayed itself to better effect than 
in the administration of martial law within his jurisdiction. By 
wise and vigorous measures he so composed the most turbulent 
social conditions, that comparative peace and order reigned. If 
he smote at times with a heavy hand, it was only because milder 


means were unsuited to the task. General Sanborn always pre- 
ferred the agencies of peace to those of war; and early follow- 
ing the submission of Lee at Appomattox, he issued his famous 
General Orders Xo. 35, whereby civil law was almost wholly 
restored in an extensive region, which, fcr nearly three years, 
had been subject to martial rule. That the order was both 
wise and timely, was the unqualified opinion of the governor 
of that state, expressed in a letter under date of June 1, 1865, 
in which the writer says: 

"The Order is most admirably conceived, clearly expressed, 
and has throughout the right tone; and in it I recognize and 
gratefully acknowledge the most effective assistance I have yet 
received toward the reinstatment of order in Missouri. Rest 
assured that when peace and the arts of industry shall once 
more have assumed their legitimate sway in the State which 
you have done so much to save, your name will be cherished 
with increasing reverence." 

His administration was uniformly characterized by a spirit 
of justice; and yet it received at times the severest criticism of 
both friend and foe. "Oftentimes," says the historian of Greene 
County, "the General was assailed by extreme radical Union 
men for his protection of the persons and property of rebels 
from those who wished to 'vex the Midianites/ to spoil them 
and spare not; and again the Confederate partizans would de- 
nounce him for his unrelenting^ pursuit of bushwhackers', who 
were rendering so much property insecure and so many lives 
unsafe. But General Sanborn kept on his course of repress- 
ing and repelling the violent of both factions, of protecting 
the good and punishing the bad, and, with a wise conservatism, 
so managed affairs that at last all but the most disreputable en- 
dorsed him; and, today, he is given great praise by men of 
all parties and former shades of opinion." 

Thus is see how durably the life of our subject is inter- 
woven in the history of two great states: Minnesota, the state 
of his adoption; Missouri, in which he tarried only by the stern 
decrees of war. And in both he verifies the scripture, "The 
memory of the just is blessed." 

Little remains to be said of his military career. He re- 
linquished his command of Southwestern Missouri. Juno 7. 



1865, and assumed command of the District of the Upper Ar- 
kansas, July 12, 1865. He was directed to proceed against va- 
rious tribes of Indians with a large force of cavalry and in- 
fantry. Within a few weeks he had satisfactorily, and without 
bloodshed, accomplished his mission. 

At the concluion of this service, he was designated and 
acted as one of a commission, consisting, besides himself, of 
General Harney, Kit Carson, William Bent, and one of the of- 
ficial staff of the Department of the Interior, to meet in council, 
October 4, 1865, at the mouth of the Little Arkansas, various 
Indian tribes. Shortly after this, he was commissioned by the 
Secretary of the Interior to treat with the Choctaw and other 
Indian tribes with respect to the liberation of their slaves. This 
task, although not without its difficulties, was speedily accom- 
plished to the satisfaction of both master and slave. 

Thus closed his active services to his Government, save 
the service to which reference will soon be made. He was bre- 
vetted Major General of Volunteers, February 10, 1866, for 
gallant and meritorious services in the campaign in Missouri 
against the Confederate Army under General Price; and he 
was mustered out of military service May 31, 1866. 

At the conclusion of his military services, General Sanborn 
returned to Minnesota with the intention of resuming the prac- 
tice of his profession and devoting thereto his" 1 remaining years. 
This plan was, however, early interrupted. 

His thorough familiarity with the Indian character, and his 
eminent success in treating with the Indians on the occasions 
already referred to, led to his appointment in 1867 as a mem- 
ber of a Peace Commission to treat with the Cheyennes, Co- 
manches, and other hostile tribes which had long been the source 
of trouble to the Government. The personnel of the commis- 
sion bespeaks the care with which its members were selected, 
and the distinguished honor which attaches to an appointment 
to it. His associates upon the Commission were Generals Sher- 
man, Harney and Terry, and Senator John B. Henderson. The 
commission prosecuted its labors with great thoroughness, care- 
fully investigating all causes of grievances, and thus acquired 
such a knowledge of the needs of the tribes as permitted the 
adoption of a more rational policy of governmental supervision 

over them. As the result of the intelligent service of the C 


mission, the Indians were generally pacified and the whites upon 
the frontiers became comparatively secure. 

General Sanborn was engaged more or less with the duties 
of the Peace Commission for upwards of a year. With what 
humanitarian views he approached that important task, may be 
gathered from an address which he delivered in 1869 upon the 
subject of "Indians and Our Indian Relations." He was un- 
sparing in that address in his characterization of the unwise, 
illiberal, costly, and destructive policy, which the Government 
had from the outset evinced toward the inferior race. The key- 
note of his plea was : "Let them be localized, educated, and 
Christianized." He may not have been wholly right, but he 
was unquestionably sincere. 

This duty performed, the remaining years of his life were 
chiefly devoted to professional work. With a view to befriend- 
ing an old acquaintance, he formed a partnership in 1867 with 
Charles King, Esq., under the name of Sanborn & King, with 
offices at Washington, D. C, to which he devoted several months 
annually and until his retirement from the firm in July, 1878. 
The business of the Washington firm was extensive and lucrative ; 
and, what was most gratifying to the senior member, it proved 
of great value to his friend, Mr. King. On January 1, 1871, he 
became associated with his nephew, the Hon. Walter H. Sanborn, 
under the firm name of John B. & W. H. Sanborn, to which was 
added January 1, 1882, another nephew, Edward P. Sanborn. 
Esq. Upon the elevation of the first named nephew, in 1891 to 
the office of Circuit Judge, the remaining members continued in 
professional association under the name of John B. & E. P. 
Sanborn, until May 15, 1904, when the senior member departed 
this life. 

Upon the retirement of Judge McCreary as Circuit Judge of 
the Eighth District, many prominent members of the bar, unsolic- 
ited by General Sanborn, joined in a strong and earnest recom- 
mendation for. his appointment to fill the vacancy so caused, thus 
furnishing an expressive testimonial of the esteem in which ho was 
held by his professional brethren. The appointment went to the 
distinguished jurist. Mr. Justice Brewer, in deference in some de- 
gree to geographical considerations. 

None would approve less than General Sanborn extravagant 
encomium upon his work as a lawyer. He did not rise to great 



eminence at the bar. Too many years had been spent upon the 
New Hampshire farm and devoted to his country's service to af- 
ford opportunity for that needful early culture, mental discipline, 
and thorough familiarity with the sages of the law, without which 
one must be rarely gifted to attain professional greatness. And 
yet it was his fortune to be professionally identified with sev- 
eral notable causes whose adjudication have become authoritative 
in the field of jurisprudence. Bearing in mind that his entrance 
into the legal profession began at an age when many another has 
already made his mark at the bar, the limited range of his schol- 
astic attainments, the mass of non-professional work in which he 
was engaged, truth demands that we accord to his work as a 
lawyer a generous meed of praise. He possessed in a rare de- 
gree that excellent quality, too often wanting in the lawyer's intel- 
lectual assets, a solid judgment. This bridged him safely over 
many a dangerous chasm where mere learning might have failed. 
Experience had taught him the value of a mastery of the facts of 
his cause, and a perfectly sane mind guided him almost unerringly 
in the application of legal principles and saved him from that re- 
fined reasoning which too commonly misguides the less practical 
into unproductive fields. He was a lawyer with whom one could 
safely counsel in many branches of the law. That sterling man- 
hood which shone through all his acts could not fail to gain for 
him on all occasions the respect of the bench, bar, and jury; and 
he was always strong in the confidence of the public. These are 
qualities which contribute not slightly to success at the bar. 

Always a friend to the young, he inclined his ear readily to 
the younger members of the bar who sought his counsel. To 
their darkness he furnished light, and to their discouragement he 
applied the balm of a cheerful word. Ah, what power for good 
resides in the heart of a noble man ! General Sanborn's presence 
was a benediction. 

When the Minnesota Department of the Grand Army of the 
Republic was formed, General Sanborn became its first com- 
mander. He was also a charter member of the Loyal Legion of 
this state, and was twice elected its commander. 

He became a member of the Minnesota Historical Society in 
1856, and, except the years in which he was engaged in the mili- 
tary service of his country, he took a deep and active interest in 
its welfare. He was e lected a councilor of this Societ) In 1 S 7 5 . an 


office which he continuously occupied until his death. At the 
death of the late Alexander Ramsey, he was chosen to fill the va- 
cancy so caused in the presidency of the society, a position which 
he was occupying when he in turn was overtaken by the fell de- 

The contributions of General Sanborn to the Loyal Legion 
and to this Society embrace several original papers of historic 
interest which are invaluable for the light they shed upon the sub- 
jects to which they relate. 

He was for many years an active and influential member of 
the St. Paul Chamber of Commerce, frequent in attendance at 
its sessions and often participating in the discussion of its ques- 
tions and measures. He was president of that body for the years 
1881 to 1885. It was during his incumbency of that office that 
the Chamber of Commerce became deeply interested in the sub- 
ject of better hotel accommodations for St. Paul. General San- 
born was the moving spirit in arousing public sentiment and en- 
listing the efforts of men of wealth in furtherance of the enter- 
prise. To no one are the people of this city more deeply indebted 
than to him for their great hostelry, the Ryan Hotel, which was 
the direct result of the agitation. 

He represented the County of Ramsey in the State Legisla- 
ture as a member of the House of Representatives in the sessions 
beginning respectively December 7, 1859, and January 2, 1872 ; 
and as State Senator during the Legislatures which assembled 
respectively on January 8, 1861, January 6, 1891, and January 3, 
1893. In the field of legislation, he was always wise, conserv- 
ative, and assiduous, opposed to extravagant expenditures, and 
zealous in whatever conduced to the public welfare. 

Too often was his door-post marked by the destroying angel ; 
yet was there apportioned to him a generous measure of domestic 
happiness. He was married at Newton, N. J., in 1857 to Cathar- 
ine Hall, who, after three brief years, died in St. Paul, November 
16, i860, and is buried in Oakland cemetery. Two children 
were born of this marriage. One, a son, died in infancy, while a 
(laugher, II attic F. Sanborn, lived until 1880. 

General Sanborn married Anna Elmer Nixon, on November 
27, 1865, and she died in 1878. leaving no children. 

April 15. 1880, he married Rachel Rice, daughter 0! the 
prominent St. Paul pioneer and Congressman, Hon, Edmund 



Rice. She, with their four children, Lucy Sargent, John B., Jr., 
Rachel, and Frederick, who all survive him, have constituted his 
delightful family. He loved his home, and exemplified the virtues 
of the true husband and the wise parent. Hospitality presided at 
his hearth, and the visitor who crossed his sill, read, Welcome ! in 
his kindly face. 

If asked to state the most pronounced characteristic of our 
subject, the answer would be, great-heartedness. He. was char- 
itable by instinct; and his benefactions,* though many, were rare- 
ly seen or known of men. To any of his companions in arms to 
whom fortune had been niggardly in material things, he gave 
freely, and sometimes with greater generosity than was just to 
himself. He was generous of his time. When many another 
would have pleaded a pressure of private affairs, he responded 
promptly, fully, and, not infrequently, with effectiveness. To 
shirk a duty was foreign to his nature. He never shifted to other 
shoulders a burden which his own should bear. In his half cen- 
tury of western life he had few idle hours. Every day had its 
duties and there was no procrastination. 

So much health was there in his blood, and so much sunshine 
in his heart, that his nature never soured under the burden of 
cares or sorrows or weight of years. Wherever met. whether in 
the heat of a trial in court, or in the council of this Society which 
he loved, or in his office, or on the street, or at his home, what- 
ever the employment or occasion, rarely did he withold a pleasant 
look and cordial greeting. Yet the clouds of righteous wrath 
could gather dark and threatening upon his brow and tones of 
, thunder escape his lips. When his command had suffered severe- 
ly in a fruitless assault against the enemy's fortifications at Yicks- 
burg, an assault which was wholly due to the blunder of another 
general officer, he displayed splendid rage. If such things were 
to be tolerated, he would leave the army, he said, if he had to be 
"shot out of it." 

It has been observed by one who knew him well, that he was 
a natural entertainer. lie possessed the rare faculty of adapting 
himself to the demands of the occasion. Come who would, high 
or low, wise or simple, one was met who could make any hour 
interesting. Conversation had made him ready, and reading had 
made him full. He had, in his day, enjoyed converse with many 
distinguished men. He was on familiar terms with many of the 


noted commanders of the Civil War. His large experience in 
Washington life brought him in touch with the country's states- 
men. He had seen much of courts, judges, and lawyers. He had 
enjoyed after-dinner chats with Waite, Miller, and Chase. A 
lively interest in current events, coupled with a fondness for 
reading and a retentive memory, had stored his mind with a rich 
fund of valuable information and interesting anecdote. He loved 
the social hour and made it a joy to those who were wise enough 
to tap the choicest vintage. 

General Sanborn was a public-spirited citizen. His patriot- 
ism was a passion. He fought his country's battles because he 
loved his country. He accepted office at sixty-five as he drew his 
sword at thirty-five, as a public duty. It was not mere declama- 
tion, but the expression of settled conviction, when, in a memorial 
address in 1885, he exclaimed : "Far distant be the day when the 
historian of our republic shall be compelled to inscribe on any page 
those words so frequently found in the histories of declining and 
failing states, 'Everything became venal.' But let the fires of pa- 
triotism burn and glow with flames so pure and bright that all that 
is sordid and selfish shall be consumed before them and be no- 
where found in the republic." 

Breathing the same lofty spirit is the fine passage taken from 
his oration delivered before the Society of the Army of the Ten- 
nessee, an address of great strength and beauty : "It is not the 
man," he says, "who most foments strife, discord and discontent 
among the people, or who may delight them most with strains of 
eloquence or flashes of intelligence and wit, but he who marks out 
for them, through the long future, paths of peace and prosperity 
in which all may walk, and who does most to Dromote the highest 
happiness of his fellow countrymen, who is the greatest states- 

Actuated by such sentiments, he did not hesitate to speak- 
strongly against any measure of injustice. He denounced an in- 
flated currency as a prolific source of evil, and he regarded with 
abhorrence a reckless expenditure of the public revenues. His 
patriotism displayed itself in his zeal for the welfare of his State 
and city, as well as of his country. He rejoiced that Minnesota, 
unlike other states, had not been despoiled of her grant of lands 
made by Congress for educational purposes: and he looked with 
disfavor upon the tendency to multiply offices- .111 evil all u >> 


prominent in recent years. He had given far too much thought 
to social problems not to understand that business prosperity and 
excessive taxation are incompatible conditions. That inflexible 
integrity which ruled his purposes left no room for doubt that a 
public office is a public trust. 

He was brave in death. When the hour for his departure had 
arrived, it found him strong in the Christian faith, and he faced 
the Hereafter with serenity, 

"Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch 
About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams." 

Naught would we detract from the honors due to New 
Hampshire, whose rugged hills were pressed by the childhood feet 
of Webster and Chase, Dix and Chandler, Cass and Greeley, 
whose scholar's have enriched thought, and whose patriots have 
strengthened the pillars of the Republic; yet fitting is it that, 
rather than the New England state which boasts his birth, her fair 
young sister, Minnesota, which developed his strength, should 
treasure in her soil the ashes of the citizen whose deeds are 
among the jewels that adorn her brow. 

Minnksota fllflTQItlCAf. BOCIBTY, 
Vol.. X. XXII. 



As one who came to the Northwest before Minnesota had any 
political existence, a sketch of William Holcombe may be of in- 
terest to those who would perpetuate the memory of the pioneers 
who helped to make this state. 

William Holcombe was born at Lambertville, N. J., July 22, 
1804, the oldest of the eight children of Emley Holcombe and 
Mary Skillman. His direct ancestor, John Holcombe, with a 
brother, Jacob, came to America with William Penn on his second 
voyage in 1700, landing at Philadelphia with other members of 
the Society of Friends, and living there for several years. He 
bought a tract of 350 acres of land, in or near what is now Lam- 
bertville, N. J., where he and his wife, Elizabeth Woolrich, set- 
tled and raised a family of sons and daughters, who with their 
descendants remained there for a hundred years. They inter- 
married among the Barber, Emley, Lawrence, and other good old 
English families, some of whom were Friends. On the Skillman. 
or maternal side, William Holcombe was a direct descendant of 
that William Beekman who came to the New Netherlands with 
Governor Stuyvesant in 1647, and who purchased Corlear's Hook, 
afterward known as Crown Point, and of Claes Arente Van 
Veghte, an equally early and honorable resident of New Amster- 
dam. In all lines were representative men, assemblymen and per- 
sons of note in the community, representatives to the Continental 
Congress, and soldiers in the Continental Army, "Friends" though 
many of them were. 

It is not surprising, then, that William, following the tradi- 
tions and instincts of his forefathers, should early seek for a 

•Kead at the monthly meeting of the Executive Council, Mav 13 1901. In the a 

w the author, a granddauguter ol Lieutenant Governor HolcombOi thu papei w^s r e .< . i by 
Hon. Henry L. Moss. 


more enlarged field than the limits of the ancestral home seemed 
to furnish. According to the invariable custom of the Society of 
Friends, he was bred to a trade, that of carriage maker, which he 
appears to have followed for a time. 

At the age of eighteen he moved to Utica, N. Y., then on the 
verge of civilization, where the only event of importance we 
have concerning him is the record of his marriage, July 30, 1826. 
to Martha, daughter of Jacob Wilson, at Sullivan, Madison 
county, N. Y. It is possible that they were remote connections, 
as Jacob Wilson's mother was a Holcombe. 

Another move westward in 1829, brought William to Ohio 
where he dwelt first in Columbus, later in Cincinnati. In each 
place a son was born, and in the latter, then a thriving town of 
ten thousand inhabitants, he owned a large carriage factory ; but 
in 1835, the westward movement still possessing him, he pro- 
ceeded onward to St. Louis, a place of five thousand people at 
that time. While there, he was a member of the firm of Strother, 
Holcombe & Co., which, among other investments, bought a 
steamboat and named it "Olive Branch," from the family crest 
of the Holcombes, and William became its captain. During his 
residence in Ohio he had become deeply concerned in spiritual 
things and united with the Presbyterian Church. He exemplified 
his piety, and consistently carried out his principles, by refusing to 
run his boat on Sunday. 

On the first trip from St. Louis to Galena, when Saturday 
evening arrived the boat was tied up to the bank at sundown, 
there to remain until the same hour on Sunday, in spite of the 
remonstrances of the passengers, who, many of them, left her. 
and proceeded on their way by another steamer, only to be stuck 
upon a sandbar and to have the mortification of seeing the "Olive 
Branch" pass them before their destination was reached. 

This policy was pursued through the entire season, and dire 
financial results were predicted from following such a course ; 
but Captain Holcombe afterward told, with much satisfacti< 
that his boat made one more trip than any other, and almost paid 
for herself in the season. 

The residence in St. Louis was brief, and. in 1836, we find 
him in Galena, Illinois, where his young wife died and was bur- 
ied. It was on a visit to this place ten years later that he met and 
married his second wile. Meantime he had moved on. stil! seek- 



ing- the frontier, to the valley of the St. Croix, and in 1839 settled 
permanently at Stillwater, then a portion of Wisconsin Territory. 

Here he commenced the development of the lumbering- inter- 
est, and was engaged in steamboating and other commercial pur- 
suits, and, at the same time, was deeply interested in the moral and 
social welfare of the struggling settlements upon the frontier. In 
1846, he was a member of the first Constitutional Convention of 
Wisconsin, and there gained the reputation w r hich he always main- 
tained of a sound political economist and a thoroughly radical 

In 1847, William Holcombe married Mrs. Henrietta King 
Clendenin, a native of Toledo, Ohio, and widow of Lieutenant 
Clendenin, U. S. A., a refined and cultured woman, rather proud 
and distant, whose translation to the hardships of a frontier town 
was a very trying experience for her. Their first home was on 
the borders of Lake St. Croix, on what is now the main street of 
Stillwater, and their earliest visitors were Indians and "loggers." 

In 1848, he was secretary of the first convention held in Still- 
water for the purpose of organizing a new Territory. A few days 
after this convention adjourned, a letter was written by General 
Sibley and Mr. Holcombe to Hon. John Catlin of Madison, Wis., 
"submitting to him the proposition that the division of Wisconsin 
Territory and the admission of a portion thereof as a State into 
the Union did not disfranchise that portion outside of the state 

boundaries Mr. Catlin at once responded coinciding 

with their views on the question" (quoted from "Last Days of 
Wisconsin Territory and Early Days of Minnesota Territory," by 
Hon. Henry L. Moss, in Volume VIII of this Society's Collec- 
tions). "He was one of five to petition Congress to strike oft a 
certain part of the then Territory of Wisconsin not included in the 
then State of Wisconsin, to be called the Territory of Minnesota." 

Later he held for four years the position of Receiver of the 
Land Office at Stillwater, a very important position at that time. 
His son Edwin was his clerk and recorded the original town plats 
of the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, and these two laid out 
what is known as Holcombe's Addition to St. Paul, one of its 
most beautiful residence districts, lying between Summit and 
Dayton avenues, west of Dale street. Mr. Holcombe also laid out 
Holcombe's Addition to Stillwater. 

"In 1857, he was a member of the convention which formed 


the Constitution of Minnesota, and took an active part in the 
deliberations. The record of the debates shows that in all pro- 
visions for public education, the preservation of the school fund, 
and kindred subjects, he manifested the greatest interest." 

"In 1858, upon the organization of the State, he was elected 
the first Lieutenant Governor, an office which he held for two 
years. As President of the Senate, he was not only distinguished 
for ripe experience and ability, but for remarkable, dignity of 
manner and unfailing courtesy under all circumstances." 

After his retirement from this office, he became an active 
member of the State Normal School Board, and filled many other 
public offices; but, to quote the words of Rev. J. G. Riheldafter in 
a minute recorded at a meeting of the Presbyterian Synod in St. 
Paul, October 3, 1870, "That which lay nearest to his heart was 
the Church of Christ." 

"He was largely instrumental in the organization of the First 
Church of Stillwater, in which he served as an elder up to the or- 
ganization of the Second Church, and the latter was built and sus- 
tained largely by his individual efforts and means. He was Pres- 
ident of the Minnesota Bible Society, and also President of the 
State Sabbath School Association." We may add, in proof of the 
very vital assistance rendered by Lieutenant Governor Holcombe 
to the Second Church of Stillwater, that after his death it lan- 
guished and the edifice was sold in a few vears and the congrega- 
tion dispersed. 

In 1856, Mr. Holcombe built what was for those days a fine 
mansion on a six-acre tract of land on the banks of Lily Lake, 
then in the suburbs of Stillwater. Opposite his gate lies a park, 
donated by him to the city; and across the lake, on the hills, 
he owned a farm, now the Lily Lake Driving Park. At his home 
profuse hospitality was dispensed to all who chose to come, 
friends and strangers sharing alike of his abundance, though the 
surest way to his heart was found by the members of his beloved 
church. Public man though he was, his home was the center of 
his life, and his great pleasure was to fill it with friends and kin- 

It was here that William Holcombe was stricken fatally by 
apoplexy on the night of September 5. 1870. and his family had 
barely time to rush to his assistance, when his spirit passed iWl} 
in prayer. At the time of his death he was Mayor of Stillwater, 



having inaugurated and carried on many public improvements 
which make the city accessible and beautiful to-day. He was also 
Superintendent of the Public Schools. 

- No railroads reached Stillwater at that time, but from the 
adjacent country old friends and admirers flocked to do honor to 
their foremost citizen, and, in spite of pouring rain and bad 
country roads, school children and their elders alike in procession 
attended the remains to their last resting place in Fairview Cem- 

Mr. Holcombe was a charter member of the St. John's Lodge 
No. I of the Masonic Order in Stillwater, organized in 1849, an d 
was buried with the rites of the order. 

A portrait of him in early youth, painted in oils, now in the 
possession of his grandson, Edwin R. Holcombe of St. Paul, 
shows a fine, strong, yet tender face, gray eyes, and curling, bright 
brown hair of that peculiar chestnut tint which retains the color 
late in life. A later portrait, taken when he was lieutenant gov- 
ernor, shows the hair thinned by time though still dark, and the 
mobile mouth compressed into firmer lines, but withal the kindli- 
ness is still apparent. 

The Dutch and English blood were traceable not only in his 
appearance but in his disposition, a blending of sturdy common 
sense, firmness, and independence, tempered by a most loving 
heart toward all humanity. He was gentle and peace-loving, his 
"Quaker" training rendering him always a non-combatant, yet 
he was a man of strong convictions and unyielding in upholding 
what he thought to be right. 

A young man in a new country, through material prosperity 
and political struggles and successes, he established and main- 
tained a name honored for scrupulous integrity in all his dealings. 

Of William Holcombe's two sons who both survived him. 
the elder, William Wilson Holcombe, died in 1889, leaving a 
married son. The second. Edwin Van Buren Holcombe, was a 
resident of St. Paul the greater part of his life, married Miss 
Adcle Soulard of an old St. Louis family, and died in St. Paul in 
1899, stricken suddenly as was his father, and at the Same age, 
Edwin is survived by his widow, a son Edwin, and a married 
daughter (the writer of this sketch). His second son, who was 
named William for Lieutenant Governor Holcombe, passed away 
before his father. 


Vol.. X. PLAT! XXIII. 



This sketch is not designed to be an elaborate biography of 
Moses Sherburne, nor a recital of the part he played in the his- 
tory of Minnesota. Knowledge of his active participation in the 
events of Territorial days and in the development of the State 
from the date of its admission to the Union until his death in 1868, 
must be gleaned from court files, newspapers, and the recollections 
of his contemporaries. The narrative which follows is devoted 
mainly to his career before his emigration from the East to St. 
Paul, the subsequent events of his life being referred to very 
briefly. The facts related have been culled from original docu- 
ments in the possession of the writer's family, and are believed to 
be more nearly complete than those hitherto recorded concerning 

Moses Sherburne, United States territorial judge of the 
Territory of Minnesota, was a conspicuous figure in the early 
days of Minnesota, and was largely instrumental in guiding the 
Territory into statehood. He was the son of Samuel Sherburne 
and Lucy Carson, residents of Maine, both of English descent. 
The oldest of five children, he was born on January 25, 1S0S, at 
Mount Vernon, Kennebec county, Maine, where he passed his 
boyhood days. His general education was obtained at the public 
schools of Mount Vernon, and at the Academy of the town of 
China, Maine, an institution of local celebrity in the first half of 
the nineteenth century. Even in his childhood and youth he at- 
tracted attention as a receptive and thorough student, and gave 
evidence of the mental qualities that were distinguishing features 
of his matured life. 

•Read at the monthly meeting ol the Exeuctive Council, May 12, 1902. 




After his graduation from the Academy at China, he chose 
the legal profession as his vocation, and entered the law office of 
Hon. Nathan Cutler, of Farmington, Maine, where he was for 
two years until his admission to the bar of his native state. In 
183 1 he took up his residence and began the practice of law at 
Phillips, then in Somerset county, but later in Franklin county, 
Maine, where he continued to reside until his removal to Min- 
nesota in April, 1853. * n l &3 2 ne married Sophia Dyar Whitney, 
daughter of Joel Whitney of Phillips, who was afterward a well 
known citizen of St. Paul, Minn., and one of the proprietors of 
Whitney and Smith's Addition to St. Paul. 

Sherburne was a successful lawyer from the beginning of his 
practice. His absolute integrity, imposing presence, accurate 
learning, and oratorical endowments, drew clients from neighbor- 
ing counties, and brought him almost immediately into promin- 
ence. Although never an office-seeker, his popularity and the gen- 
eral respect felt for his ability made him a recipient of public of- 
fices during the greater portion of his professional life. On Sep- 
tember 13, 1837, when twenty-nine years of age, he was appointed 
postmaster of Phillips, and on April 8, 1838, less than seven 
months later, Governor Kent appointed him county attorney of 
Franklin county. 

By this time he had fairly entered the political field, and soon 
afterward was elected to the Lower House in the Maine Legisla- 
ture, where he served one term, after which he was chosen State 
Senator for two successive terms. His attention to politics was 
accompanied by active interest in the militia, and on August 12, 
1840, Governor Fairfield commissioned him Division Inspector 
with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel of the Eighth Division, 
Maine Militia, a rank held by him until March 29, 1842, when 
he was promoted by Governor Fairfield to be Major General of 
the same Division. 

Meanwhile he had received a judicial appointment, the first 
of many which retained him continuously on the bench both of his 
native state and of Minnesota until 1857. On. the first day 0! 
October, 1840, Governor Fairfield nominated him as Officer lor 
Administration of Oaths and Justice of the Peace and of the 
Quorum for Franklin county for a term of seven years. His ser- 
vices in this minor judicial office were so satisfactory that on June 
30, 1845, nc was raised by Governor Anderson to the position of 



Judge of Probate for the county of Franklin for a term of seven 
years. In those days in New England the office of Probate Judge 
was deemed to be of high dignity, and its duties were performed 
by Judge Sherburne in a manner that greatly enhanced his repu- 

On June 24, 1847, Governor Dana appointed him Justice of 
the Peace and of the Quorum for the entire State of Maine. 

In 1850 he filled the office of Bank Commissioner under an 
appointment by Governor Hubbard of Maine. 

About this time Judge Sherburne was nominated for Con- 
gress by the Democratic party of his Congressional district; but, 
although running ahead of his associates on the Democratic ticket, 
he was defeated, the district being strongly Whig. 

The eloquent and able speeches of Judge Sherburne during 
the political canvass following his nomination for Congress had 
widely extended his reputation, and had brought him to the 
notice of Franklin Pierce. The acquaintance thus formed ripened 
into a friendship, and when Mr. Pierce became President of the 
United States, he appointed Moses Sherburne Associate Justice of 
the Supreme Court of the newly formed Territory of Minnesota. 
In speaking of this appointment, the Eastern Argus of Portland, 
Maine, of April 18, 1853, said, "The President could hardly have 
selected a man better suited to this honorable and responsible 

In April, 1853, Closes Sherburne came to Minnesota to fill 
his new judicial office, and he occupied the bench until 1857, when 
he resigned to resume private practice of the law, in which he was 
engaged until the time of his death. 

When the Territory of Minnesota applied for admission to 
the Union as a state, Judge Sherburne took a prominent part in 
the deliberations which resulted in the adoption of the State Con- 
stitution, and his remarks during the Constitutional Convention 
are among the valuable original sources to which the future his- 
torian of Minnesota will apply for an insight into the problems 
and motives of the Fathers of the North Star State. 

Judge Sherburne was an enthusiastic Mason. On August 6, 
1840, he founded the Blue Mountain Lodge of Masons in Phillips, 
Maine. He was second Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of 
Masons of the Territory of Minnesota, and a member of the An- 
cient Landmark Lodge of St. Paul. 


During his residence in Minnesota, he was deeply interested 
in the development of the young Territory and State. He was a 
joint proprietor of Ashton and Sherburne's Addition to St. Paul, 
and his name was given to Sherburne avenue, St. Paul, and to 
Sherburne county, Minnesota. 

Judge Sherburne died on March 29, 1868, at Orono, in Sher- 
burne county, whither he had gone a short time previous to prac- 
tice law and to engage in various business enterprises. 

He left several children, of whom three now survive, namely, 
Sarah Sherburne Brisbine, of St. Paul, widow of the late Doctor 
Albert G. Brisbine, and Moses Thaxter Sherburne and James 
Chapman Sherburne, of Des Moines, Iowa. 

Moses Sherburne was a man of commanding stature and in- 
tellect. His manners were courtly, his nature genial. He had an 
open, benevolent countenance, regular yet strongly marked feat- 
ures, and keen, deep blue eyes. 

His demeanor on the bench was dignified and becoming a 
judicial position. As a lawyer and judge he was in the first rank. 
His orbiter dicta always carried weight and were regarded almost 
as law, and his decisions are authoritative. After leaving the 
bench, up to the day of his death, he was constantly in demand as 
senior counsel, and his learning and skill in court were every- 
where respected. 

Judge Sherburne had unusual gifts as an orator. His lan- 
guage was chaste, vigorous, and idiomatic, and his reasoning log- 
ical and conclusive. He usually appealed to the understanding 
rather than to the emotions; but on proper occasions his impas- 
sioned eloquence, bursting forth from a cold, unornamented back- 
ground, produced an overwhelming effect. 


George Loomis Becker was born in Locke, N. Y., February 
4, 1829, and died at his home in St. Paul, January 6, 1904. He 
was graduated at the state university of Michigan in 1846 ; studied 
law; came to Minnesota in 1849, an< 3 began the practice of his 
profession in St. Paul. During Governor Sibley's administration, 
General Becker served on his staff as quartermaster general. In 
1859 he was the Democratic candidate for Governor. He was a 
state senator, 1868-71. He became land commissioner of the St. 
Paul and Pacific railroad in 1862, and was ever afterward promi- 
nent in advancing the railroad interests of Minnesota, being a 
member of the State Railroad Commission from 1885 to 1901. 
Becker county was named in his honor in 1858. He became a 
life member of the Minnesota Historical Society in 1856, and was 
its president in 1874. 

Douglas Brymxer was born at Greenock, Scotland, July 3, 
1823. He moved to Canada in 1857, and engaged in journalism, 
becoming associate editor of the Montreal Daily Herald. He was 
appointed Dominion Archivist in 1872, removing then to Ottawa. 
During thirty years he fulfilled the duties of that office, a large 
series of reports of great value to Canadian history being publish- 
ed under his direction. He was elected a corresponding member 
of this Society, February 8, 1897. He died in Ottawa, June 19, 

Richard C. Burdtck was born in Michigan in 1834. and 
died in St. Paul, October 13, 1902. He came here in 1851 and 
was employed by transportation and surveying companies. He 
was a representative in the Territorial legislature in [855, Later 
he resided in Pembina and Winnipeg and in Minneapolis, lie 

was elected a corresponding member of this Society July 8, 1867. 


James Henry Dunn was born at Fort Wayne, Ind., May 
2 9> I ^53- He came to Minnesota with his parents when only a 
year old ; was graduated at the State Normal School in Winona in 
1872. Later he studied medicine in Chicago and New York, and 
took special courses of study in Germany, France, and Italy. 
Upon returning to this country he established a large practice in 
Minneapolis, and became a professor in the medical department of 
the University of Minnesota. While attending a convention of 
the American Surgical Association in St. Louis, Mo., he died very 
suddenly, June 16, 1904. He became a life member of this So- 
ciety December 11, 1882. 

John Fiske, whose original name was Edmund Fiske 
Green, was born in Hartford, Conn., March 30, 1842; was gradu- 
ated at Harvard College in 1863, and at Harvard Law School in 
1865, but never practiced law. From 1869 to 1879 ne was a ^ ect " 
urer and instructor in Harvard University, being for seven years 
assistant librarian. He was the author of manv books, magazine 
articles, and addresses. During the last twenty years his work 
was almost wholly in American history. He was elected an hon- 
ory member of this Society in 1897. He died July 4, 1901. 

Charles Eugene Flandrau was born in New York City, 
July 15, 1828; and died at his home in St. Paul, September 9, 
1903. He was admitted to the bar in 185 1 ; came to St. Paul in 
1853, and opened an office in partnership with Horace R. Bigelow; 
was one of the first settlers of St. Peter, 1854; was a member of 
the State Constitutional Convention, 1857; was associate justice of 
the Supreme Court of Minnesota, 1857-64; resided in Minnea- 
polis, 1867-70; and then returned to St. Paul. During the Sioux 
outbreak, in August, 1862, Judge Flandrau commanded the vol- 
unteer forces in their defense of New Ulm. He became a lite 
member cf this Historical Society, December 8. 1870; and was a 
member of its Council from 1882 until his death. (See the Mem- 
orial Addresses in the foregoing pages, 767 -S^o.) 

Alpiieus G. Fuller was born in Scotland. Conn.. Juno 22, 
1822, and came as early as 1850 from Connecticut to St. Paul. 
In 1856 he built and owned the Fuller House in this city, which 
was afterward called the International Hotel. Mr. Fuller was 
elected a life member of this Society, January 15. 1856, The next 



year he removed from St. Paul, and joined in founding the first 
white settlement in the area of South Dakota, at Sioux Falls. 
Later he resided at Fort Randall and at Yankton, S. D., and 
after 1894 at Pocomoke City, Md. He died at the home of his 
daughter in Scotland, Conn., April 13, 1900. 

Charles Duncan Gilfillan was born in New Hartford, N. 
Y., July 4, 1831 ; and died in St. Paul, December 18, 1902.' He 
was educated at Homer Academy and Hamilton College in New 
York. He came to Minnesota in 1851, and three years later set- 
tled in St. Paul. He was president of the company that in 1869 
completed the city water works. He was a prominent Republican, 
and served in both branches of the state legislature. During the 
later years of his life he engaged largely in farming in Redwood 
County. He became a member of this society in 1867, and a life 
member in 1880. 

Julius M. Goldsmith was born in Port Washington, Wis., 
in 1857, and died at his home in St. Paul, after a short illness, 
May 4, 1904. He came to Minnesota in 1882, settling in St. Paul, 
where in 1890 he became treasurer of the State Savings Bank, 
and held this position until his death. He was elected to mem- 
bership in this Society December II, 1899. 

William Henry Grant was born in Lyndeborough, N. H., 
December 23, 1829; and died at Sandstone, Minn., August 8, 
1901. He studied law, and was admitted to the bar in 1854. He 
settled in St. Paul in 1859, where he practiced law. and was in- 
terested in real estate and lumbering. He was historian and reg- 
istrar of the Minnesota Society of the Sons of the American Rev- 
olution, and was nine times elected Worshipful Master of the St. 
Paul Lodge, No. 3. A. F. and A. M. He became a member of this 
Society in 18S0; was elected to life membership January 11. 1S02 ; 
and was a member of its Executive Council after April 11. 1802. 

Joseph Jackson Howard was born at Woodsidc, Cheshire, 
England, April 12, 1827. He held an official position in the postal 
service of England during thirty-seven years, retiring in (888. 
Early in life he became an. expert in researches of heraldry and 
genealogy. He was one of the founders of the Harlci.m Society in 


1869, and was its honorary treasurer from that time until the end 
of the year 1901. He was the editor of many of the publications 
of that society, and of a quarterly magazine. Dr. Howard was 
elected an honorary member of the Minnesota Historical Society, 
July 12, 1869. He died at Hampton Hill, England, April 18, 1902. 

Richard Marvin was born in Henckley, England, May 28, 
1817; and died in St. Paul, December 17, 1902. He came to the 
United States in 1845, anc * six years later settled in St. Paul, 
where he engaged in wholesale mercantile business. He became 
a member of this society in 1856, and was elected to life member- 
ship in 1888. 

Henry Lawrence Moss was born in Augusta, N. Y., March 
23, 1819 ; and died at Lake Minnetonka, Minn., July 20, 1902. He 
was graduated at Hamilton College, Clinton, N. Y., in 1840; 
studied law, and was admitted to the bar in 1843 at Columbus, 
Ohio ; came to Stillwater, Minn., in 1848, and two years later set- 
tled in St. Paul. He aided in the organization of the Territory, 
and was United States district attorney here nine years. He be- 
came a life member of this Society in 1868, and was a member of 
its Executive Council many years. 

Peter Neff, elected as a corresponding member of this So- 
ciety, February 8, 1897, was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, April 13, 
1827, and died in Cleveland, Ohio, May 12, 1903. Pie was grad- 
uated from Kenyon College in 1849; was a practical geologist, the 
first to utilize rock oil and natural